Tennessee's 4th congressional district

Tennessee's 4th congressional district
Tennessee US Congressional District 4 (since 2013).tif
Tennessee's 4th congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
  Scott DesJarlais
RSouth Pittsburg
  • 56.16[1]% urban
  • 43.84% rural
Population (2016)767,655[2]
Median income$56,304[3]
Cook PVIR+20[4]

The 4th Congressional District of Tennessee is a congressional district in southern Tennessee. It has been represented by Republican Scott DesJarlais since January 2011.

Current boundaries[edit]

The district lies mostly in the southern part of Middle Tennessee, but stretches into East Tennessee. It is currently composed of the following counties: Bedford, Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Meigs, Moore, Rhea, Rutherford, Sequatchie, and Warren. It also contains significant portions of Bradley, Maury, and Van Buren counties.


Most of the district is rural, but many residents live in suburbs of Chattanooga and Nashville. The area is very hilly, and has many well-known geographical features related to its location on the Cumberland Plateau. Possibly the most famous of these is Fall Creek Falls in Van Buren County.

This part of Tennessee has several well-recognized distilleries such as Duck River, George Dickel, Southern Pride, and most famously the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg.[5]

The region encompasses many of Tennessee's higher education facilities, such as Middle Tennessee State University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Bryan College, and Lee University.

According to the 2010 census, the five largest cities are Murfreesboro (108,755), Cleveland (41,285), Smyrna (39,974), LaVergne (32,588), and Shelbyville (20,335).

Election results from presidential races[edit]

Year Office Result
2000 President George W. Bush 50% - Al Gore 49%
2004 President George W. Bush 58% - John Kerry 41%
2008 President John McCain 62.6% - Barack Obama 35.8%
2012 President Mitt Romney 65.3% - Barack Obama 33%
2016 President Donald Trump 68.6% - Hillary Clinton 27.4%


Throughout the 20th century, the 4th district took many different forms. Though, in most cases, it encompassed most of the rural area between Nashville and Knoxville. It has often been the state's largest district in terms of area, and one of the largest east of the Mississippi River, because of low population density and the district's rural character.

For almost thirty years (1947-1977), this area of Tennessee was represented in Congress by Joe L. Evins. (Early in his political career, his district was numbered as the "5th", but that district was almost entirely in what became the 4th after the 1950s round of redistricting.)[6] Evins' successor in Congress was future vice president Al Gore, Jr., who represented the 4th from 1977 to 1983.

The district's current configuration dates from he 1980 census, when Tennessee gained a new congressional seat. Parts of what were previously in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th districts were combined to form a new 4th district. Most of Gore's territory became the 6th district.

The new district took pieces of traditional heavily Republican East Tennessee and traditionally Democratic Middle Tennessee. It was so large that it stretched across five of Tennessee's eight television markets (Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, the Tri-Cities, as well as the Tennessee share of the Huntsville, Alabama market).[7] and five of the state's nine radio markets (the above-mentioned cities, plus Cookeville). This gave congressional races much of the feel of statewide races; candidates' advertising budgets sometimes rivaled those for governor and U.S. Senate. Open-seat races in this district were usually among the most-watched in the country. However, the district's large size and lack of unifying influences make it very difficult to unseat an incumbent. Consequently, the district's congressman was usually reckoned as a statewide figure, with a good chance for winning state office in the future.

In 1982, Democrat Jim Cooper, son of former governor Prentice Cooper defeated Cissy Baker, daughter of Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker. Cooper went on to represent the district for the rest of the 80s and early 90s.[8] On paper, this district was not safe for either party, given its volatile demographics. Much of the eastern portion of the district, for instance, had not been represented by a Democrat since before the Civil War. However, Cooper was reelected five times without serious difficulty.

Cooper gave up his seat to run for Senate in 1994, where he lost to Fred Thompson. He was succeeded by Republican Van Hilleary in the massive Republican wave of that year. Hilleary was reelected three times without much difficulty, handily winning a second term even as Bill Clinton carried the district due to Gore's presence as his running mate; he'd represented much of the western portion of the district for his first three terms in the House.

In 2002, Hilleary made a failed attempt to become Governor of Tennessee, and was replaced by state senator Lincoln Davis. Davis held the seat for eight years.

In 2010, Davis was challenged by South Pittsburg doctor Scott DesJarlais, who rode to victory on the Tea Party wave of 2010 despite Davis raising more money.[9] This marked the first time that an incumbent had been defeated in the district since the reformation of the district in 1980.

Following the DesJarlais victory and the 2010 census, the 4th was made slightly more compact. The district lost its northern portion, including its territory near the Tri-Cities and Knoxville. On the other hand, the 4th gained significant additions with Rutherford County and northern Bradley County.

List of members representing the district[edit]

Name Years Party Residence Electoral history District location
District created March 4, 1813
John H. Bowen March 4, 1813 –
March 3, 1815
Democratic-Republican [Data unknown/missing.] Elected in 1813.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Bennett H. Henderson March 4, 1815 –
March 3, 1817
Democratic-Republican [Data unknown/missing.] Elected in 1815.
Samuel E. Hogg March 4, 1817 –
March 3, 1819
Democratic-Republican [Data unknown/missing.] Elected in 1817.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Robert Allen March 4, 1819 –
March 3, 1823
Democratic-Republican [Data unknown/missing.] [Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 5th district.
Jacob C. Isacks March 4, 1823 –
March 3, 1825
Jacksonian D-R Winchester [Data unknown/missing.]
March 4, 1825 –
March 3, 1833
Jacksonian [Data unknown/missing.]
James I. Standifer March 4, 1833 –
March 3, 1835
Jacksonian Kingston Redistricted from the 3rd district.
[Data unknown/missing.]
March 4, 1835 –
March 3, 1837
Anti-Jacksonian [Data unknown/missing.]
March 4, 1837 –
August 20, 1837
Whig [Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant August 20, 1837 –
September 14, 1837
William Stone September 14, 1837 –
March 3, 1839
Whig Sequatchie County Elected September 14, 1837 to finish Standifer's term and seated October 6, 1837.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Julius W. Blackwell March 4, 1839 –
March 3, 1841
Democratic Athens [Data unknown/missing.]
Thomas J. Campbell March 4, 1841 –
March 3, 1843
Whig Rhea County [Data unknown/missing.]
Alvan Cullom March 4, 1843 –
March 3, 1847
Democratic Livingston [Data unknown/missing.]
Hugh Hill March 4, 1847 –
March 3, 1849
Democratic McMinnville [Data unknown/missing.]
John Houston Savage - Brady-Handy.jpg
John H. Savage
March 4, 1849 –
March 3, 1853
Democratic Smithville [Data unknown/missing.]
William Cullom March 4, 1853 –
March 3, 1855
Whig Carthage Redistricted from the 8th district.
[Data unknown/missing.]
John Houston Savage - Brady-Handy.jpg
John H. Savage
March 4, 1855 –
March 3, 1859
Democratic Smithville [Data unknown/missing.]
William Brickly Stokes - Brady-Handy.jpg
William B. Stokes
March 4, 1859 –
March 3, 1861
Opposition Alexandria [Data unknown/missing.]
Hon. Clements - NARA - 528653.jpg
Andrew J. Clements
March 4, 1861 –
March 3, 1863
Unionist Lafayette [Data unknown/missing.]
American Civil War
Edmund Cooper July 24, 1866 –
March 3, 1867
Unionist Shelbyville [Data unknown/missing.]
Hon. James Mullins, Tenn., 40th Congress - NARA - 525231-cropped.jpg
James Mullins
March 4, 1867 –
March 3, 1869
Republican Shelbyville [Data unknown/missing.]
Lewis Tillman - Brady-Handy.jpg
Lewis Tillman
March 4, 1869 –
March 3, 1871
Republican Shelbyville [Data unknown/missing.]
John M. Bright
March 4, 1871 –
March 3, 1875
Democratic Fayetteville [Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 5th district.
Samuel M. Fite March 4, 1875 –
October 23, 1875
Democratic Carthage [Data unknown/missing.]
Vacant October 23, 1875 –
December 14, 1875
Haywood Yancey Riddle - Brady-Handy.jpg
Haywood Y. Riddle
December 14, 1875 –
March 3, 1879
Democratic Lebanon [Data unknown/missing.]
Benton McMillin 3575401083 6b3c77e538 o.jpg
Benton McMillin
March 4, 1879 –
January 6, 1899
Democratic Celina [Data unknown/missing.]
Resigned when elected Governor
Vacant January 6, 1899 –
March 3, 1899
Charles E. Snodgrass March 4, 1899 –
March 3, 1903
Democratic Crossville [Data unknown/missing.]
Morgan C. Fitzpatrick March 4, 1903 –
March 3, 1905
Democratic Hartsville [Data unknown/missing.]
Mounce Gore Butler.jpg
Mounce G. Butler
March 4, 1905 –
March 3, 1907
Democratic Gainesboro [Data unknown/missing.]
Cordell Hull
March 4, 1907 –
March 3, 1921
Democratic Celina [Data unknown/missing.]
Wynne F. Clouse
March 4, 1921 –
March 3, 1923
Republican Cookeville [Data unknown/missing.]
Cordell Hull
March 4, 1923 –
March 3, 1931
Democratic Celina [Data unknown/missing.]
John R. Mitchell March 4, 1931 –
January 3, 1939
Democratic Crossville [Data unknown/missing.]
Albert Gore Sr..jpg
Albert Gore, Sr.
January 3, 1939 –
December 4, 1944
Democratic Carthage [Data unknown/missing.]
Resigned December 4, 1944 to enter US Army
Vacant December 4, 1944 –
January 3, 1945
Albert Gore Sr..jpg
Albert Gore, Sr.
January 3, 1945 –
January 3, 1953
Democratic Carthage [Data unknown/missing.]
Joe L. Evins.jpg
Joe L. Evins
January 3, 1953 –
January 3, 1977
Democratic Smithville Redistricted from the 5th district.
[Data unknown/missing.]
Al Gore
January 3, 1977 –
January 3, 1983
Democratic Carthage [Data unknown/missing.]
Redistricted to the 6th district.
Jim Cooper.jpg
Jim Cooper
January 3, 1983 –
January 3, 1995
Democratic Shelbyville [Data unknown/missing.]
Van Hilleary
January 3, 1995 –
January 3, 2003
Republican Spring City [Data unknown/missing.]
Lincoln Davis 111th Congressional portrait.jpg
Lincoln Davis
January 3, 2003 –
January 3, 2011
Democratic Pall Mall [Data unknown/missing.]
Guy DeJarlais 116th Congress.jpg
Scott DesJarlais
January 3, 2011 –
Republican South Pittsburg Incumbent

Living former members[edit]

As of January 2019, there are four living former members. The most recent to die was Albert Gore Sr. (served 1939–1953) on December 5, 1998. The most recent serving representative to die was Joe L. Evins (served 1953–1977) on March 31, 1984.

Representative Term of office Date of birth (and age)
Al Gore 1977–1983 (1948-03-31) March 31, 1948 (age 71)
Jim Cooper 1983–1995 (1959-06-20) June 20, 1959 (age 60)
Van Hilleary 1995–2003 (1954-06-19) June 19, 1954 (age 65)
Lincoln Davis 2003–2011 (1943-09-13) September 13, 1943 (age 76)

Historical district boundaries[edit]

2003 - 2013

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Congress.com: Tennessee Congressional districts

Coordinates: 35°15′44″N 86°37′44″W / 35.26222°N 86.62889°W / 35.26222; -86.62889