Longtime Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper to retire in wake of Nashville redistricting

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Longtime Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper (Tenn.) will not run for re-election, he announced Tuesday, attributing his decision, at least in part, to his inability to stop the state General Assembly from "dismembering Nashville" in its redistricting process.

"After 32 years in office, I will be leaving Congress next year," Cooper, 67, wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. "I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough. You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history, making me the state's third longest-serving member of Congress."

"Despite my strength at the polls," Cooper continued, "I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville. No one tried harder to keep our city 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 he timed his decision so that "others have more time to campaign," and pledged to return donations to donors so they can "redirect them as they choose."

Cooper is now the 29th House Democrat to announce their retirement ahead of the midterm elections, a metric many fear signals looming pessimism toward Democrats' chances in November, reports The Washington Post.

The Nashville-area congressman's decision arrives after the state's GOP-controlled General Assembly "approved a redistricting plan that will split Davidson County, which includes Nashville, into three congressional districts," rather than the one district in which it currently sits.

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