August 12th, 2010
08:05 AM ET
4 years ago

CNN 100: Davis vies to keep conservative Tennessee 4th blue

 The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.
The CNN 100 takes a look at the top 100 House races, from now until Election Day.

Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here. Today's featured district is:

Tennessee 4th – Rep. Lincoln Davis is seeking a 5th term
Primary: August 5, 2010
Location: Central Tennessee
Days until Election Day: 82

Tennessee's 4th congressional district is one of the most Republican seats in the country to be represented by a Democrat, which most likely explains why its congressman is one of the chamber's most conservative Democrats.

Elected to this seat in 2002, Rep. Lincoln Davis has cultivated the kind of voting record in the House that a Democrat would need to stay competitive in this Republican stronghold. He voted against several hallmarks of the Democratic legislative agenda, including the "cap and trade" energy plan, the Wall Street reform bill, and health care reform legislation - which was signed into law earlier this year. He did support the Obama economic stimulus plan. According to Congressional Quarterly, he supported President Obama's position about 83 percent of the time on key votes and with his party 89 percent of the time.

His Republican opponent is Scott DesJarlais, a Jasper-area physician who supports repealing the new health care law and ending what he called "corporate bailouts." On his website, he describes himself as "Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Marriage and proud of it!" DesJarlais emerged on top of last week's crowded primary field with 37 percent of the vote. Coming in second was businessman Jack Bailey with 27 percent, followed by businessman and history professor Kent Greenough with 15 percent. Two other candidates shared the remaining vote.

As of mid-July, just prior to the primaries, Davis had $472,000 in the bank, compared to $24,000 for DesJarlais. Davis has raised a total of $810,000 for his bid, while DesJarlais has raised a respectable $292,000. He has also loaned his campaign $29,000 from personal funds.

Tennessee's 4th district is located in the state's central region and stretches from Kentucky on its northern border to Alabama and Georgia on its southern border. Like much of the state, this district is heavily Republican, especially in presidential races. John McCain won here with 64 percent, compared to 35 percent for Obama. The president did not win a single county in the 4th district. In 2004, President Bush carried the region with 58 percent of the vote, and he narrowly won a similar district against Tennessee native Al Gore in 2000.

Despite this decidedly Republican bent in national races, Davis has managed to win here four times in congressional races, including in the Democratic friendly years of 2006 and 2008 - where he won with 66 percent and 59 percent, respectively - as well as in the GOP-friendly years of 2002 and 2004. He has represented some region of this district either as mayor, state legislator, or congressman off and on since 1978. Davis is in a relatively enviable position compared to other incumbents in his party, but he is not completely out of the woods. 2010 is expected to be a tough year for Democrats, especially for those in districts like Tennessee's 4th. Nonetheless, DesJarlais will have his work cut out for him to bring this seat into the Republican fold.


Filed under: CNN 100
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Gil

    I guess this goes to show the differences in the two party's. There is a conservative democrat in Tennessee a very liberal one here in Wisconsin and moderates everywhere. Unlike the repulsive Party which is trying to, and so far successfully, being taken over by the right Wing conservative nut case extremists from the right. It reminds me of Germany before 1939.

    August 12, 2010 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  2. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Notice the latest job report shows more loss and the hits my 401K is taking. I sure hope that corrupt buffoon in the White House declares the "summer of prosperity" is over soon, my finances can't take much more. Oh wait, in a month or so we will see massive increases in our health insurance costs courtesy of the corrupt Obozocare bill. Well, at least your friends in the unions are taken care of, right Hussein.

    August 12, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  3. Blue

    At least he has the sense to vote against all these liberal losers that are running ( or should I say Ruining) the country with their communistic attitudes. All of them need to be impeached and removed, before they do more damage.pelosi and reid need to be the first ousted.

    August 12, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    What we need to do this November is give this congress permanent vacation. We need to have new people to have a chance at representing the people for a change.

    I do not care about what party you belong to! "We the People” got screwed again this time we need to make all of them pay with their jobs.
    Guess what Congress "You Are Fired!"
    This fall vote "No to incumbents"
    Fire All incumbents!
    Congress allowed the American people to lose their jobs, their life's savings, and their retirement and NOW we are in double dip recession. And then made the American people pay to bailout the ones who were responsible for the crime.
    All while supporting the special interests, lobbyists, Big business and the wealthy.
    You know what Congress, welcome to the ranks of the unemployed.

    August 12, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  5. vic

    In Tennessee Districts 4 ,5 and 6 democrats will win. 4 and 5 are incumbents even republicans like Davis and Jim Cooper District 6 democratic party candidate better than republican candidate . Republican primary was nasty

    if demarcates win district 7 that will be big victory I am waiting for the day

    August 12, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. tnff

    Two things. Take a look at a map of the 4th district and you see the most convoluted, gerrymandered shape a district could take. But beyond that, neither party has run a candidate in that district that's worth a dang. Davis wins not because of his abilities and position on the issues, but because the potential challengers are worse. I don't care which party they're from, just DO SOMETHING.

    August 12, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |