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Tennessee's 1st congressional district

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Title: Tennessee's 1st congressional district  
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Subject: United States congressional delegations from Tennessee, David Davis (U.S. politician), Phil Roe (politician), Andrew Johnson, United States House of Representatives elections, 2008
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Tennessee's 1st congressional district

Tennessee's 1st congressional district
Tennessee's 1st congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Tennessee's 1st congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Current Representative Phil Roe (RJohnson City)
Population (2000) 632,143
Median income $31,228
Ethnicity 95.8% White, 2.2% Black, 0.4% Asian, 1.5% Hispanic, 0.2% Native American, 0.0% other
Cook PVI R+21[1]

The Tennessee 1st Congressional District is the congressional district of northeast Tennessee, including all of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties and parts of Jefferson County and Sevier County. Cities and towns represented within the district include Blountville, Bristol, Elizabethton, Erwin, Greeneville, Johnson City, Jonesborough, Jefferson City, Kingsport, Morristown, Mountain City, Roan Mountain, Rogersville, Sneedville, and Sevierville. The 1st District's seat in the U.S. House of Representatives has been held by Republicans since 1881.

The district was created in 1805 when the At-large seat was divided among multiple districts.

The district's current Congressman, Phil Roe was first elected in 2008 after defeating one-term incumbent David Davis in the Republican primary[2]

Political characteristics

The 1st has generally been a very secure voting district for the Republican Party since the American Civil War, and is one of only two ancestrally Republican districts in the state (the other being the neighboring 2nd district).
U.S. Representatives Andrew Jackson (1796-1797, at large) and Andrew Johnson (1843-1853, 1st) represented this area and later served as President of the United States
Republicans (or their antecedents) have held the seat continuously since 1881 and for all but four years since 1859, while Democrats (or their antecedents) have held the congressional seat for all but eight years from when Andrew Jackson was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1796 (as the state's single at large representative) up to the term of Albert Galiton Watkins ending in 1859.

Andrew Johnson later ascended to the office of President of the United States.

The 1st was one of four districts in Tennessee whose congressmen did not resign when Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861. Thomas Amos Rogers Nelson was reelected as a Unionist (the name used by a coalition of Republicans, northern Democrats and anti-Confederate Southern Democrats) to the Thirty-seventh Congress, but he was arrested by Confederate troops while en route to Washington, D.C. and taken to Richmond. Nelson was paroled and returned home to Jonesborough, where he kept a low profile for the length of his term.[3]

Like the rest of East Tennessee, slavery was not as common in this area as the rest of the state due to its mountain terrain, which was dominated by small farms instead of plantations.[4] The district was also the home of the first exclusively abolitionist periodicals in the nation, The Manumission Intelligencer and The Emancipator, founded in Jonesborough by Elihu Embree in 1819.[5]

Due to these factors, this area supported the Union over the Confederacy in the Civil War, and identified with the Republican Party after Tennessee was readmitted to the Union in 1867, electing candidates representing the Republican-related Unionist Party both before and after the war. This allegiance continues to this day, with Republicans dominating every level of government. While a few Democratic pockets exist in the district's urban areas, they are not enough to sway the district.

The district typically gives its congressmen long tenures in Washington. Only eight people have represented it since 1921.

List of representatives

Representative Party Years Electoral history
District created March 4, 1805
John Rhea Democratic-
March 4, 1805 –
March 3, 1815
Redistricted from the at-large district
Samuel Powell Democratic-
March 4, 1815 –
March 3, 1817
John Rhea Democratic-
March 4, 1817 –
March 3, 1823
John Blair Jacksonian
March 4, 1823 –
March 3, 1825
Jacksonian March 4, 1825 –
March 3, 1835
William B. Carter Anti-
March 4, 1835 –
March 3, 1837
Whig March 4, 1837 –
March 3, 1841
Thomas D. Arnold Whig March 4, 1841 –
March 3, 1843
Andrew Johnson Democratic March 4, 1843 –
March 3, 1853
Elected Governor of Tennessee
Brookins Campbell Democratic March 4, 1853 –
December 25, 1853
Vacant December 25, 1853 –
March 30, 1854
Nathaniel G. Taylor Whig March 30, 1854 –
March 3, 1855
Lost re-election
Albert G. Watkins Democratic March 4, 1855 –
March 3, 1859
Redistricted from the 2nd district
Thomas A. R. Nelson Opposition March 4, 1859 –
March 3, 1861
Re-elected in 1860, but captured en route to Congress and failed to take his seat in 1861
Civil War and Reconstruction
Nathaniel G. Taylor Unionist July 24, 1866 – March 3, 1867 Retired
Roderick R. Butler Republican March 4, 1867 –
March 3, 1875
Lost re-election
William McFarland Democratic March 4, 1875 –
March 3, 1877
James H. Randolph Republican March 4, 1877 –
March 3, 1879
Robert L. Taylor Democratic March 4, 1879 –
March 3, 1881
Augustus H. Pettibone Republican March 4, 1881 –
March 3, 1887
Roderick R. Butler Republican March 4, 1887 –
March 3, 1889
Alfred A. Taylor Republican March 4, 1889 –
March 3, 1895
William C. Anderson Republican March 4, 1895 –
March 3, 1897
Walter P. Brownlow Republican March 4, 1897 –
July 8, 1910
Vacant July 9, 1910 –
November 7, 1910
Zachary D. Massey Republican November 8, 1910 –
March 3, 1911
Sam R. Sells Republican March 4, 1911 –
March 3, 1921
B. Carroll Reece Republican March 4, 1921 –
March 3, 1931
Lost renomination to Oscar Lovette
Oscar B. Lovette Republican March 4, 1931 –
March 3, 1933
Lost renomination
B. Carroll Reece Republican March 3, 1933 –
January 3, 1947
Retired to serve as chairman of the Republican National Committee
Dayton E. Phillips Republican January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1951
Lost renomination
B. Carroll Reece Republican January 3, 1951 –
March 19, 1961
Vacant March 20, 1961 –
May 15, 1961
Louise Reece Republican May 16, 1961 –
January 3, 1963
Elected to finish her husband's term
Jimmy Quillen Republican January 3, 1963 –
January 3, 1997
William L. Jenkins Republican January 3, 1997 –
January 3, 2007
David Davis Republican January 3, 2007 –
January 3, 2009
Lost renomination
Phil Roe Republican January 3, 2009 –
First elected in 2008

Historical district boundaries

2003 - 2013

See also


  • Political Graveyard database of Tennessee congressmen


  1. ^ "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008". The Cook Political Report. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  2. ^ "Roe defeats incumbent Davis for 1st Congressional District nomination", Johnson City Press, August 8, 2008.
  3. ^ "A Patriot's Voice", Neal O'Steen, Tennessee Alumnus Summer 1997
  4. ^ Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture: Slavery
  5. ^ Waymarking: First Abolition Publications
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 
  • Congressional Biographical Directory of the United States 1774–present

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