Preparing for convention, Tennessee Democrats hope to make statehouse gains

A fence surrounds the Wisconsin Center before the start of the Democratic National Convention Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

NASHVILLE - State Democrats said Monday they hope to make political gains in fall elections against the Tennessee General Assembly's House and Senate Republican super majorities in hopes of having more impact on policy.

Democratic leaders' assertions came as Tennessee delegates to the National Democratic Convention, which began Monday in Milwaukee, held an unprecedented Facebook meeting, with the coronavirus forcing both political parties to abandon in-person national conventions, with most delegates attending remotely online. Republicans are to meet in Charlotte later this month.

Senate Democratic Caucus Chair Raumesh Akbari of Memphis told delegates Republicans "gerrymandered the hell out of us" in the past. But she predicted Democrats were in good position to boost their current five members to eight in the 33-member chamber. "We have a good chance of flipping three seats" and gaining greater influence, she said.