NASHVILLE — Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini announced Saturday she won't seek another term as the head of the party after she wraps up her sixth year in January.
"It has been an honor of a lifetime to work with Democrats across the state and serve the Tennessee Democratic Party as chair for the last six years," Mancini told party State Executive Committee members during a teleconference call. "I am excited to see what's next for the party and I look forward to helping the new chair in whatever capacity is needed."
Potential candidates to succeed Mancini include state Rep. London Lamar of Memphis, Democratic National Committee member Wade Munday, two-time congressional candidate Renee Hoyos from Knoxville and activist Beth Joslin Roth from Nashville.
Mancini's announcement comes days after the Nov. 3 election in which the party netted just one seat, a state Senate District in Nashville, in Tennessee's Republican-dominated General Assembly. Two years ago, Democrats picked up one House district.
Democrats this year had hoped to pick off up to four House seats and two to three Senate seats in the 2020 presidential election. The list included state Senate District 10 in Hamilton and Bradley counties, where Democrat Glenn Scruggs of Chattanooga fell short in his bid to unseat incumbent Sen. Todd Gardenhire.
State Democrats also retained a Memphis seat where a Democrat defeated state Rep. John DeBerry, a Memphis Democrat who had been expelled from the party last spring after siding with House Republicans on abortion and school voucher bills.
But Mancini and others on the teleconference call with Democrats' State Executive Committee noted that the state Senate pickup was the first gain in the chamber by the state's once-dominant Democrats since 1984.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart, who is not seeking reelection to the leadership post, told committee members, "let's face it. We lost, we didn't win."
Noting it's the first time since he's been chairman that there were no seat pickups in the House, Stewart said, "I'm not sure we would have done anything different. I wish we'd had another $100,000."
That could have helped Democratic candidate Gabby Salinas in House District 97, who narrowly lost her contest with Republican John Gillespie.
Stewart noted in a pre-Tuesday election interview that he would not seek another term as House Caucus chair. Democrats interested in succeeding him include Reps. John Ray Clemmons and Bo Mitchell, both of Nashville.
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.