When Jim Cooper was first elected to Congress in the 1982, he represented the 4th Congressional District of Tennessee. That district ran along Tennessee’s southern rural border with Alabama and Georgia, and then northeast until it got to Kentucky! This conservative rural district gave Barack Obama only 34% of the vote in 2008 – which explains why Democrats would need a Blue Dog conservative candidate there in order to win.
Unfortunately, Cooper didn’t stay there.
After helping to kill President Clinton’s health care proposals, and then losing a campaign in 1994, he moved to the 5th Congressional District — where 100% of voters either live in Nashville or its suburbs. When then-Representative Bob Clement left the 5th Congressional District to run for U.S. Senate in 2002, Cooper ran here, and won a split Democratic primary with less than 50% of the vote.
Jim Cooper represents voters in a district that gave Barack Obama 56% of the vote in 2008 – a 22 point swing from his old district. But he kept on representing his old constituents. And as a leader of the Blue Dogs, he works with Republicans against much of President Obama’s agenda, even voting against President Obama’s economic recovery plan.
For eight long years, Jim Cooper has violated the trust that the voters in the 5th Congressional District have placed in him. His Blue Dog voting record is unchanged from the record he built in the conservative, rural district he represented so many years ago.
Nashville voters deserve a real Democrat in Congress.