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Sat Jun 8, 2019, 05:16 AM

National Democratic Chair Perez in Tennessee: 'Keep Fighting'

Democrats in Tennessee don’t have much to brag about lately. Their caucus in the state legislature is so small that Republicans can form a quorum without them. Their best hope at statewide election victory in recent years — former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s 2018 U.S. Senate campaign — didn’t end up all that close on Election Day. (Bredesen lost to Marsha Blackburn by nearly 11 points.) Tennessee’s own Al Gore couldn’t even win his home state when he ran for president in 2000.

Tennessee Democrats point to a few slivers of hope: They increased their state House representation by one seat last year, and they were successful in flipping the last Nashville House seat still held by Republicans.

Despite recent losses, national Democrats aren’t completely ignoring the state. Tom Perez, chair of the Democratic National Committee and formerly the secretary of labor under President Obama, was in Nashville last week meeting with members of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators and Democratic organizers. Perez told the Scene he remains optimistic about Democratic prospects in Tennessee. The following is a condensed transcript of our conversation.

Democrats emphasized health care in 2018 and were in many cases successful across the country. But in Tennessee, health care served as a key differentiator between the Democratic and Republican nominees for governor, and the Republican easily won. How do you explain that?

It takes a while to build the necessary infrastructure that enables you to win. We are taking a very long-term approach to progress. You’re not going to turn around years of electoral loss in one cycle. You’ve got to build the infrastructure, build trust and continue to plug away. I continue to believe the number one issue across this country is health care. It’s an issue that resonates in rural, urban, suburban America. It’s an issue that resonates in white, nonwhite America. When something like 10 rural hospitals in this state have closed because of the refusal to expand Medicaid, we have to be relentless in building relationships, telling people what we’re fighting for, and explaining the contrast, and then fielding good candidates everywhere. We’re going to continue to work hard here, and part of my reason for being here was to tell folks down here that we’re forging ahead.

Read more: https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/features/article/21071570/national-democratic-chair-perez-in-tennessee-keep-fighting

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Reply National Democratic Chair Perez in Tennessee: 'Keep Fighting' (Original post)
TexasTowelie Jun 2019 OP
Laura PourMeADrink Jun 2019 #1

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 07:49 AM

1. Didn't realize things so bad there. It would be a

Perfect place for Beto to try and turn around. He is so good at building consensus and listening to those on the other side. But there's only one Beto and would take him 20 years to visit every red pocket in the country.

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