Can Tennessee Democrats maintain momentum following withering loss?

Nov 7, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Tennessee Democrats went into the mid-term election with more energy and enthusiasm than they’ve generated in years, but have few victories to show for the effort.

Credit tndp.org

Veteran Tennessee Republican strategist Tom Ingram says even he was surprised Democrats failed so completely. Ingram believes lingering Republican anger over the contentious confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh drove GOP success.

“Republicans turned out in large numbers to express their displeasure with the way Democrats handled that process, and I think that that gave now Senator Elect Blackburn a margin that was greater than some of us observers expected.”

Tennessee Democrats also lost the governor’s race, failed to make any gains in Congress, and picked up just one additional seat in the state General Assembly.

But Democratic state Party Chair Mary Mancini seems undaunted by the lack of clear victories. She notes that Democrats managed to run candidates in races that have gone uncontested for years.

She also notes that women, voters of color, and young people turned out for the mid-term election in unprecedented numbers.

Mancini says for the first time in decades, Tennessee Democrats now have a large number of campaign tested candidates, managers and volunteers.

“They’re not going anywhere. Right? They just closed margins in places where it was considered impossible for them to close margins. You know, they’re just getting started.”

Mary Mancini says that while Democrats were hoping for a better showing, they came in to this election cycle knowing a return to competitiveness in Tennessee would be, her words, “a marathon and not a sprint.”