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Gore Lost Home State and District

KARIN MILLERNovember 10, 2000

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Not only did Al Gore lose his home state of Tennessee, but he also lost the congressional district he represented for eight years.

The 6th Congressional District he represented from 1976 to 1984 doesn’t have the same makeup today as it did 16 years ago, but if the votes in the 17 counties it once comprised were added up, George W. Bush would have 166,025 to Gore’s 140,992.

That is an additional embarrassment to Gore, who had never lost an election in Tennessee until Tuesday. It is also another indicator of the state’s Republican shift in recent years.

In Tennessee, Gore was considered a moderate until he started inching toward the national stage. Once an opponent of abortion and gun control, Gore now supports the right to choose and tighter restrictions on gun sales _ neither of which plays well in rural parts of the district he once called home.

``Generally Gore just trended to the left, and I think Tennesseans want someone in the middle of the spectrum or a little to the right,″ said Rep. Bill Jenkins, R-Tenn. ``He left Tennessee. Tennessee didn’t leave him.″

Several of the rural counties Gore once represented are now wealthy bedroom communities of Nashville and heavily Republican.

Gore did win Smith County, where he has a farm and where his mother still lives, but it wasn’t overwhelming even there: 4,890 to 2,384.

Twenty-four years ago, Gore won 94 percent of the vote in his first congressional campaign, and the next two times he ran unopposed. A decade ago, when Gore ran for his second Senate term, he became the first statewide candidate to win all 95 of Tennessee’s counties.

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