The special committee formed to vet a field of candidates in search of the right leader for the Tennessee Democratic Party submitted three names Monday for the state executive committee to choose between, said ad hoc chairman Bill Freeman.

The committee recommended:

– Mary Mancini, a Nashville resident and former executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action.
– Terry Adams, a Knoxville attorney who lost in the Senate Democratic primary to Gordon Ball.
– Rep. Gloria Johnson, R- Knoxville, a Knoxville teacher who narrowly lost her re-election bid.

The three recommendations come as no surprise after TNDP Chair Roy Herron announced that he would not seek a second term.

Democrats suffered losses in the November election, on Herron’s watch, losing ground in both houses of the General Assembly on Nov. 4.

Bill Freeman organized a group of 28, at the behest of the state executive committee, to interview nine finalists Monday. The three finalists were chosen from an applicant pool of 20 Democrats.

The committee was looking for a strong Democrat with a strong fundraising background, good organizational skills and someone who knew the ropes of the Democratic Party across the state.

Although Freeman declined to say whether the committee ranked the three recommendations, others involved in the selection committee reported that Mary Mancini was the first choice of a majority of the committee.

The state executive committee will elect a new chairman. They are not bound by the recommendations of the ad hoc committee.

Serving on the special vetting committee were: Bill Freeman; Vetting Committee Chair, Chris Anderson, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Fabian Bedne, Metro Nashville Council Member (District 31); Mayor Andy Berke, Chattanooga; Gary Blackburn, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Will Cheek, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee and former TNDP chairman; U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (District 9); Karl Dean, Mayor Nashville; U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (District 5); State Sen. Lowe Finney (D-Jackson); State Rep. Darren Jernigan (D-Old Hickory); State Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville); Bob Clement, U.S. Rep.; Wade Munday, TNDP Treasurer; Gale Jones Carson, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Geeta McMillan, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Mayor Kim McMillan, Clarksville; Gary Moore, president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council; Matia Powell, president of Tennessee Young Democrats; Charles Rains, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; A.J. Starling, vice president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO Labor Council; Gerard Stranch, attorney and former TNDP general counsel; Bob Tuke, former TNDP chairman; Barbara Wagner, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Sylvia Woods, member of the TNDP State Executive Committee; Glenn Funk, attorney District Nashville; Marla Salas, Victory Fund Campaign Board; and Ellsa Parker, TNDP Vice-Chair.

The first round of a series of meetings, to hear from the candidates, were held today in Morristown and Sweetwater Tennessee. Executive Committee members, who will elect the new TNDP Chair, County Chairs and democratic activists attended the East Tennessee forum to hear from the candidates.

The next round of meetings will be held in Middle Tennessee on December 6 at 8:45 AM in Cookeville at 1:45 PM in Nashville Tennessee. The final round of meetings will be held on December 13 at 8:45 at Jackson and at 1:45 PM in Memphis Tennessee.

The election of new officers and chair will be held on January 10, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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