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Tennessee's 8th congressional district

The 8th Congressional District of Tennessee is a congressional district in Tennessee. It currently includes most of the western third of the state and borders Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Tennessee's 8th congressional district
Tennessee US Congressional District 8 (since 2013).tif
Tennessee's 8th congressional district – since January 3, 2013.
U.S. RepresentativeDavid Kustoff (RGermantown)
  • 60.83[1]% urban
  • 39.17% rural
Population (2016)706,468[2]
Median income$56,477[3]
Cook PVIR+19[4]

The district's current configuration dates from 1983, when Tennessee gained a 9th district as a result of the 1980 census. At that time, most of the old 7th District was reconfigured as the 8th District. Much of the territory in this district had been numbered as the 8th District from 1953 through 1973.

Historically, the 8th was a strongly Democratic district anchored in northwest Tennessee. Along with the 5th and 9th districts, it was usually not seriously contested by Republicans for most of the 20th century.

However, the Democrats in this district were nowhere near as liberal as their counterparts in the 5th and 9th districts—based in Nashville and Memphis, respectively. As with the 4th and 6th in Middle Tennessee, most self-identified Democrats in the 8th are usually conservative on social issues, and expect their legislators to focus attention upon obtaining federal funds for local public works or economic development projects, rather than to develop any talents for formulating public policy. This was especially important during the days when seniority played a greater role in determining Congressional influence than presently. Like their neighbors in nearby Mississippi and Kentucky, voters in West Tennessee have been gradually abandoning the Democrats in favor of Republicans over the past 20 years, largely under the influence of religious conservatism (part of the Bible Belt).

The major constituencies in the district are small-to-medium-scale farmers and working-class whites (mostly employees of small industries or trades) in the rural areas, Memphis suburbanites in Tipton and eastern Shelby counties (the U.S. Navy operates a base in Millington), affluent residents of Jackson who regularly vote Republican and African-American Democrats (generally more progressive ideologically than the region's white officeholders) who reside in the counties along the Mississippi River, those parts of Tennessee where slavery was most prevalent prior to the Civil War. For many years, these two groups largely canceled each other out in the voting booth, leaving the balance of power in the hands of voters in the counties closer to Kentucky and along the Tennessee River. As a result, it was long reckoned as a classic "yellow dog Democrat" district. However, after the 2010 census, Fayette County and most of eastern Shelby County was shifted over from the 7th district. Eastern Shelby County is the most Republican area of the state outside East Tennessee, and its addition gave the 8th a character similar to the 7th and other affluent suburban districts in the South. As a result, it is now one of the most Republican districts in the nation.

The bulk of the district's vote is cast in the whiter, wealthier sections of Memphis, as well as most of that city's suburbs in Shelby (Germantown, Bartlett, Collierville, Millington, Cordova) and Fayette counties. This area boasts some of the highest median incomes in the state, and has swollen with former Memphis residents since the 1960s. The rest of the district is composed mostly of small towns and farming communities. Jackson is the largest city located entirely in the district. The district already had a strong social conservative tint which grew even more pronounced when eastern Memphis was added to the district; many of the state's most politically active churches are located here.

Republican Stephen Fincher won the seat in 2011, becoming the first Republican to hold this seat or its predecessors in more than a century. He handed the seat to fellow Republican David Kustoff in 2017 after opting not to seek a fourth term.


List of representativesEdit

Name Years Party District Residence Notes
District created March 4, 1823
James B. Reynolds March 4, 1823 – March 3, 1825 Jacksonian D-R
John H. Marable March 4, 1825 – March 3, 1829 Jacksonian
  Cave Johnson March 4, 1829 – March 3, 1833 Jacksonian Redistricted to the 11th district
David W. Dickinson March 4, 1833 – March 3, 1835 Jacksonian
Abram P. Maury March 4, 1835 – March 3, 1837 Anti-Jacksonian
March 4, 1837 – March 3, 1839 Whig
  Meredith P. Gentry March 4, 1839 – March 3, 1843 Whig
Joseph H. Peyton March 4, 1843 – November 11, 1845 Whig Died
Edwin H. Ewing January 2, 1846 – March 3, 1847 Whig
Washington Barrow March 4, 1847 – March 3, 1849 Whig
Andrew Ewing March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1851 Democratic
William Cullom March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1853 Whig Redistricted to the 4th district
  Felix Zollicoffer March 4, 1853 – March 3, 1855 Whig
March 4, 1855 – March 3, 1859 Know Nothing
James M. Quarles March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1861 Opposition
American Civil War
  John W. Leftwich July 24, 1866 – March 3, 1867 Unconditional Unionist
  David A. Nunn March 4, 1867 – March 3, 1869 Republican
  William J. Smith March 4, 1869 – March 3, 1871 Republican
William W. Vaughan March 4, 1871 – March 3, 1873 Democratic
  David A. Nunn March 4, 1873 – March 3, 1875 Republican
  John D. C. Atkins March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1883 Democratic Redistricted from the 7th district
  John M. Taylor March 4, 1883 – March 3, 1887 Democratic
  Benjamin A. Enloe March 4, 1887 – March 3, 1895 Democratic
  John E. McCall March 4, 1895 – March 3, 1897 Republican
  Thetus W. Sims March 4, 1897 – March 3, 1921 Democratic
  Lon A. Scott March 4, 1921 – March 3, 1923 Republican
  Gordon Browning March 4, 1923 – March 3, 1933 Democratic Redistricted to the 7th district
  Jere Cooper March 4, 1933 – January 3, 1943 Democratic Redistricted from the 9th district, Redistricted to the 9th district
  Tom J. Murray January 3, 1943 – January 3, 1953 Democratic Redistricted to the 7th district
  Jere Cooper January 3, 1953 – December 18, 1957 Democratic Redistricted from the 9th district, Died
  Fats Everett February 1, 1958 – January 26, 1969 Democratic Died
  Ed Jones March 25, 1969 – January 3, 1973 Democratic Redistricted to the 7th district
  Dan Kuykendall January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1975 Republican Redistricted from the 9th district
  Harold Ford, Sr. January 3, 1975 – January 3, 1983 Democratic Redistricted to the 9th district
  Ed Jones January 3, 1983 – January 3, 1989 Democratic Redistricted from the 7th district
  John S. Tanner January 3, 1989 – January 3, 2011 Democratic
  Stephen Fincher January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2017 Republican Retired
  David Kustoff January 3, 2017 – present Republican Incumbent

Historical district boundariesEdit

2003 – 2013

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.

Coordinates: 35°51′20″N 89°05′59″W / 35.85556°N 89.09972°W / 35.85556; -89.09972