Another House Democrat is bailing out before the 2022 midterms.
Tennessee Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper announced Tuesday that he would be retiring after the redistricting process considerably changed the makeup of his district.
According to the Washington Examiner, the process — led by the Republicans who control the state legislature — divided the city of Nashville into three districts that incorporated surrounding suburbs.
While Nashville leans Democrat, Cooper’s new district will be a likely Republican pickup.
Cooper, who was first elected in 1982, becomes the 29th Democrat to announce their retirement before the 2022 midterms, according to NPR.
“Today I am announcing that I will not run for re-election to Congress,” Cooper in a message to constituents.
“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, making me the state’s 3rd longest-serving member of Congress.
“You allowed me to help millions of people while representing our state capital, as well as 30 of our state’s 95 counties.”
He added that, “Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville.”
Cooper said he was “announcing my decision promptly so that others have more time to campaign” and that he’d return individual contributions for the upcoming race.
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
Cooper blamed his exit from the race on “gerrymandering” — which is what Democrats call redistricting when it’s done by Republicans. (When redistricting done by Democrats is advantageous to their own party, it’s merely called redistricting.)
Nevertheless, if anyone had a fighting chance in the district, it was Cooper.
When he was elected in 1982, he was only 28. Twelve years later, he lost an election for a Senate seat against actor and attorney Fred Thompson. He had the visibility and political machine behind him.
Even without redistricting, however, 2022 is going to be a tough year for Democrats.
They currently hold a slim 222-212 majority in House of Representatives, where retirements have become a pressing issue for the party.
In addition to President Joe Biden’s unpopularity and the public increasingly beginning to wake up to the connection between runaway spending and inflation, that presents enormous challenges for the left. Cooper saw all that writing on the wall and skedaddled.
In his statement, Cooper said he didn’t know“what the future holds but I am ready to get another job next year and make up for lost time with family and friends. I could not be more excited.”
“Having started as the youngest congressman in America, even after my record tenure I am still only 67 years old,” he added.
“For everything there is a season, a time and place under the sun. My time in Congress is ending, but I can’t wait to start the next adventure.”
Just not in Congress.