Mancini New Tennessee Democratic Party Chair

mary mNashville – Mary Mancini was elected to lead Tennessee Democrats after party leaders gave the progressive activist from Nashville a unified show of support in electing her new chair of the state party.

Mancini, collected 61 of 70 votes Saturday from the state party’s Executive Committee. She outlasted three strong candidates for chair.

Mancini immediately hit the ground running after saying. “Together, we must work to elect Democrats. We must rebuild and re-energize the base. We have to strengthen our county parties and we have to lay the groundwork for the next several election cycles”.

In selecting Mancini, Democrats have turned to a progressive voting rights advocate that has criticized the state’s voter identification law. Mancini is a strong leader in liberal circles, a past co-host of Liberadio, a political radio talk show in Nashville.

Mancini distributed a two-year plan to executive members weeks prior to Saturday’s vote as she visited EC members across the state. She reminded Democrats that they must recruit strong statewide candidates, raise more money, effectively use voter data, make strong gains in the state House and Senate and ensure that Democrats have a voice in the next round of redistricting in 2020. She said the party must also execute a strategy that reaches all 95 of Tennessee’s counties.

She reminded Executive Committee members that Republicans want us to think this is a completely red state, but it’s not. “There are Democrats all over the state”, Mancini noted.

Mancini has assumed leadership of a state party that has experienced losses in recent years after controlling the state legislature and governor’s office less than a decade ago. In November, Republicans expanded supermajorities in both the 99-member Tennessee House — from 71 members to 73 — and the 33-member Tennessee Senate, where Republicans now hold a 28-5 majority.

Jeff Yarbro, an ex-officio member, reminded the executive committee Saturday that the upcoming 109th General Assembly, which begins session this week, would feature fewer Democrats than at any point in Tennessee history.

“This is not basketball — this is something where you have to have 17 votes to get things done, and that means that we’re 12 short,” Yarbro said of the Senate. “We’ve got to get those (Democrats) elected.”

Democrats across the state are excited with Mary Mancini leading the party. An energy and excitement exist that has not been felt in years. After the failed experiment with conservative leadership, could it be that the Tennessee Democratic Party is experiencing a new resurgence?

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