Note: This post is in response to, and support of the “Bush Dog” project at Open Left. This, like all the other profiles, is a work in progress. If you have any insight or information to add to this profile, please do so in the comments.
Jim Cooper TN-05 has been involved in Tennessee politics for a very long time. First elected in 1983 to TN-04 he served in this seat until he ran unsuccessfully for the Senate against Fred Thompson in 1994. In 2002 Cooper won the seat representing TN-05 and has served that district since. Cooper has staked out positions contrary to traditional Democratic values such as abortion, gay marriage, and the PATRIOT act. On the flip side, he has regularly voted for public health, pro-union, and pro environment. He has been called a “big spender” by some on the right, despite his continued efforts to keep the deficit in check.
Cooper is a member of the Blue Dogs. He votes with the Democratic Party 86% of the time. This is lower than any other Democratic member of the Tennessee delegation, even though he votes with the Party on key votes more than his conservative counterparts in TN-04, 06, and 08. In the 109th and 110th Congresses he has voted against the party on 5 key votes. His Progressive Punch Index is 71.93. Davis is a member of the Armed Services, Budget and Oversight and Government Reform committees. The majority of his fundraising comes from individuals (60%), but 77% of his PAC money comes from business.
Since his election in 2002, Cooper has seen only one primary challenge that had little traction. He has won every general election by significant margins. Currently, no candidates, including Cooper have declared for TN-05. A source in Nashville tells me that TN-05 is one of the safest Democratic seats in Tennessee, and that the feeling in the district is that Cooper can serve as long as he wants. In 2006 Cooper garnered 69% of the vote, 85% of that Coming from Davidson Co. A search of the FEC website for financial disclosures shows that Cooper has about $25k on hand after debts.
TN-05 is located in the center of the state. The district is dominated by Nashville (Davidson Co.), but also includes portions of Cheatham and Wilson Counties. Of the 178,000 votes cast in 2006 for the TN-05 House seat, nearly 104,000 for Cooper came from Davidson Co. alone, more than enough to put him over the top without the benefit of Cheatham (4477) and Wilson (14503) Counties. In 2004, Kerry and Bush ran neck and neck in heavily Democratic TN-05. Gore carried the District easily in 2000. The district has a Cook rating of D+6.2.