Democratic Tennessee Rep. Jim Cooper, who recently announced his retirement, said in an interview Tuesday that his party is “facing extinction.”
Cooper wants the Democrats to find a way to re-election in Nashville but says, “hope is not a strategy,” according to an interview he did with the Nashville Scene. The Congressman told the Scene his party is “not alert to future dangers,” as polling shows Republicans look prepared to win back seats in the U.S. House and Senate in the 2022 midterms.
“We’ve been crippled politically. I’m fine,” Cooper assured the Scene. “I was alert to the danger. I tried to warn everyone I could. Very few people wanted to listen, and now the worst has happened.”
Democrats have forgotten the rural communities in Tennessee, according to Cooper.
“People in Nashville don’t realize how many kindred spirits there are in these rural counties who feel trapped by the Republican representation,” Cooper told the Scene. “What they have to do is genuinely love their brothers and sisters who live outside of Nashville.”
Cooper spent over three decades in the U. S. Congress, first representing Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District until he won a seat representing the state’s 5th Congressional District covering Nashville. (RELATED: Tennessee Adopts New Congressional Map That Nukes Long-Time Democrat’s Seat)
Today I am announcing that I will not run for re-election to Congress. After 32 years in office, I will be leaving Congress next year.
I cannot thank the people of Nashville enough. You backed me more than almost anyone in Tennessee history. pic.twitter.com/C6LE31uFQC
— Jim Cooper (@repjimcooper) January 25, 2022
The Tennessee Democrat blamed Republican “gerrymandering” for politically dividing Nashville to make it impossible for him to win re-election, according to his retirement statement.
“Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville,” Cooper’s statement said. “There’s no way, at least for me in this elections cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates.”
Cooper plans to return to the job force and become a “productive citizen” after his retirement in 2023, according to the Scene.