On January 14, 2002, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a congressional redistricting plan that Governor Sundquist signed on January 17. Although the Democrats control the Assembly, they chose not to create an overly partisan map, as they need the GOP to pass a contentious budget bill. Not too much changed; however, the 4th District was made more Democratic. By increasing the number of Democrats in the 4th, lawmakers made the surrounding districts more Republican.
Fourth Congressional District: Republican Van Hilleary took the traditionally Democratic 4th in 1994 and has handily won subsequent elections. It appears that the new district will be extremely competitive--Gore won it by 0.6%--especially given Van Hilleary's decision to run for governor in 2002. One name touted as Van Hilleary's potential successor is state Senator Lincoln Davis(D).
Fifth Congressional District:Although several high profile Democratic names were mentioned as contenders for the Senator Fred Thompson's open seat, Bob Clement became the odds-on favorite when he announced his candidacy on March 18, 2002. Clement has represented the Nashville area since 1988. Currently, there are two potential candidates in the bid to replace him, social worker Carlton Cornett (D) and Jonathon Farley (G).
Seventh Congressional District: Senator Fred Thompson's announcement in early March that he would not seek reelection took many by surprise. Representative Ed Bryant (R), however, is ready to take on former Tennessee Governor and Education Secretary Lamar Alexander in the GOP primary. Republican candidates, including state Representative Larry Scroggs and Councilman Brent Taylor, are now scrambling to enter the congressional race. On the Democratic side, 2000 contender Bob Hatton already announced that his candidacy before Bryant's departure.