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Tennessee Democrats regroup as their string of statewide election losses continues

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Tennessee Democratic Party
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File
Hendrell Remus, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, has been supportive of party staffers' move to unionize.

Republicans made much more modest gains than they had expected on Election Day, but there were a few notable exceptions, especially in Tennessee. Here, Republicans gained a seat in Congress, kept control of the governorship and maintained their super majority in the General Assembly.

After Republican legislators redrew federal and legislative maps in January, Democrats expected it would be an uphill battle on Election Day. But Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Hendrell Remus says while the party suffered significant losses, it now has a clear direction forward.

“Now we see where the opportunities are, where our build districts will be, where our battlegrounds will be,” said Remus. “And it’ll give us an opportunity to adjust our strategic planning to account for that.”

The new maps will be in place until the next redistricting process in 2030. Remus says one of the biggest things they are up against is voter apathy. Voter turnout in this election was lower than the 2018 midterm election.

Nashville’s 5th District Congressman Jim Cooper is retiring at the end of his term, a decision he made after Republicans targeted his seat. But he says moving forward, winning requires finding not only new voters but persuading current ones.

“Some political activists think, ‘Oh, all you can do is mobilize your base and find all your base voters.’ Well, some of them are hard to mobilize, so are they really in our base?” questioned Cooper. “The old model of trying to persuade independent voters has largely been cast aside. I’m still a believer in that old model.”

After Cooper finishes his term, Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen will be the only Democrat left in Tennessee’s nine-member delegation.

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