NASHVILLE (AP) — Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., announced Tuesday that he won't run for reelection, declaring there was “no way” for him to win his seat under a new congressional map drawn up by state Republicans.
Cooper has been in elected office more than 30 years and has represented Nashville's 5th Congressional District since 2003. Before that, the moderate Democrat spent time serving in the House from 1983 to 1995.
His retirement announcement comes just a day after Tennessee’s GOP-controlled General Assembly approved a new congressional map that would split booming, Democratic-tilted Nashville three ways. Under the new plan — which still must be approved by the governor — Cooper would have become a significant underdog in retaining his seat against a Republican.
“I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough,” Cooper said in a statement. “You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history, making me the state’s 3rd longest-serving member of Congress.”
Cooper also heavily criticized state Republican lawmakers for ignoring local leaders' pleas to keep Nashville whole.
“There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates,” he said.