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Tennessee's 2nd congressional district

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Title: Tennessee's 2nd congressional district  
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Subject: United States congressional delegations from Tennessee, John Sevier, East Tennessee, Horace Maynard, Tennessee's 1st congressional district
Collection: Congressional Districts of Tennessee, East Tennessee
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Tennessee's 2nd congressional district

Tennessee's 2nd congressional district
Tennessee's 2nd congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Tennessee's 2nd congressional district - since January 3, 2013.
Current Representative Jimmy Duncan (RKnoxville)
Population (2000) 632,143
Median income $36,796
Ethnicity 90.7% White, 6.3% Black, 1.0% Asian, 1.3% Hispanic, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% other
Cook PVI R+16[1]

The 2nd congressional district of Tennessee is a congressional district in Tennessee. It currently includes the east central part of the state.

The district is based in Knoxville, and is largely coextensive with that city's metropolitan area. It includes most of that city's suburbs. It includes the cities and towns of Alcoa, Dandridge, Farragut, Harrogate, Jefferson City, Jellico, Loudon, Lenoir City, Maryville, Powell, Rutledge and Tazewell.

The 2nd is one of the safest districts in the nation for the Republican Party. It is one of the few ancestrally Republican districts in the South. No Democrat has represented the district since 1855, and Republicans (or their antecedents) have held the district continuously since 1859. It was one of only two districts in Tennessee (the other being the neighboring 1st district) whose congressmen did not resign when Tennessee seceded from the Union prior to the Civil War.

Because most of its residents supported the Union over the Confederacy, the people almost immediately identified with the Republicans after hostilities ceased. Much of that sentiment was derived from the region's economic base of small-scale farming, with little or no use for slavery; thus, voters were mostly indifferent or hostile to the concerns of plantation owners and other landed interests farther west in the state, who aligned themselves with the Democratic Party. This loyalty has persisted through good times and bad since then. Before the 1950s, its congressmen were among the few truly senior Republican congressmen from the South.

From the end of Reconstruction through the 1950s, the Republican Party in Tennessee was more or less nonexistent outside of East Tennessee. However, in the 1960s conservative Democratic whites, especially in suburban Memphis and Nashville, began voting for the likes of Barry Goldwater, Howard Baker (whose father and stepmother were representatives from the 2nd in the 1950s and 1960s), and Richard Nixon. At bottom, the conservative Democrats in the other Grand Divisions were almost as conservative as Republicans in East Tennessee. Traditional East Tennessee Republicans began welcoming conservative Democrats into their party, and they have worked more or less together as a coalition ever since.

A few pockets of Democratic voters exist in Knoxville, which has occasionally elected Democratic mayors and sends a few Democrats to the state legislature. However, they are no match for the overwhelming Republican tilt of the rural areas, the Knoxville suburbs, and most of Knoxville itself. Coal miners in the far northern fringe of the district also supported Democrats from the 1930s onward, but nearly all of the coal-mining region was drawn into the 4th district after the 1980 Census.

This district traditionally gives its congressmen very long tenures in Washington. In the last 106 years, it has had only five congressmen (not including caretakers). The current congressman is Jimmy Duncan who succeeded his father, 24-year incumbent John Duncan, Sr., in a 1988 special election.


  • List of representatives 1
  • Historical district boundaries 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4

List of representatives

Name Party Years District Residence Note
District created March 4, 1805
George W. Campbell Democratic-Republican March 4, 1805 -
March 4, 1809
Redistricted from the at-large district
Retired to become judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court
Robert Weakley Democratic-Republican March 4, 1809 -
March 4, 1811
John Sevier Democratic-Republican March 4, 1811 –
September 24, 1815
Vacant September 24, 1815 –
December 8, 1815
William G. Blount Democratic-Republican December 8, 1815 –
March 3, 1819
John A. Cocke Democratic-Republican March 4, 1819 –
March 3, 1823
Jacksonian D-R March 4, 1823 –
March 3, 1825
Jacksonian March 4, 1825 –
March 3, 1827
Pryor Lea Jacksonian March 4, 1827 –
March 3, 1831
Thomas D. Arnold Anti-Jacksonian March 4, 1831 –
March 3, 1833
Samuel Bunch Jacksonian March 4, 1833 –
March 3, 1835
Anti-Jacksonian March 4, 1835 –
March 3, 1837
Abraham McClellan Democrat March 4, 1837 –
March 3, 1843
William T. Senter Whig March 4, 1843 –
March 3, 1845
William M. Cocke Whig March 4, 1845 –
March 3, 1849
Albert G. Watkins Whig March 4, 1849 –
March 3, 1853
William M. Churchwell Democrat March 4, 1853 –
March 3, 1855
Redistricted from the 3rd district
William H. Sneed American March 4, 1855 –
March 4, 1857
Horace Maynard Know Nothing March 4, 1857 –
March 3, 1859
Opposition March 4, 1859 –
March 3, 1861
Unionist March 4, 1861 –
March 3, 1863
Civil War
Horace Maynard Unconditional Unionist July 24, 1866 –
March 3, 1867
Republican March 4, 1867 –
March 3, 1873
Redistricted to the At-large district
Jacob M. Thornburgh Republican March 4, 1873 –
March 3, 1879
Leonidas C. Houk Republican March 4, 1879 –
May 25, 1891
Vacant May 25, 1891 –
December 7, 1891
John C. Houk Republican December 7, 1891 –
March 3, 1895
Succeeded his father
Henry R. Gibson Republican March 4, 1895 –
March 3, 1905
Nathan W. Hale Republican March 4, 1905 –
March 3, 1909
Richard W. Austin Republican March 4, 1909 –
March 3, 1919
J. Will Taylor Republican March 4, 1919 –
November 14, 1939
Vacant November 14, 1939 –
December 30, 1939
John Jennings, Jr. Republican December 30, 1939 –
January 3, 1951
Howard H. Baker, Sr. Republican January 3, 1951 –
January 7, 1964
Vacant January 7, 1964 –
March 10, 1964
Irene B. Baker Republican March 10, 1964 –
January 3, 1965
Succeeded her husband
John J. Duncan, Sr. Republican January 3, 1965 –
June 21, 1988
Vacant June 21, 1988 –
November 7, 1988
John J. Duncan, Jr. Republican November 8, 1988 –
Incumbent, succeeded his father

Historical district boundaries

2003 - 2013

See also


  1. ^ "Partisan Voting Index Districts of the 113th Congress: 2004 & 2008" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. 2012. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  • 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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