Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Current chair of the Williamson County Democratic Party Holly McCall announced on Wednesday her intention to challenge Mary Mancini in leading the Tennessee Democratic party as state chair.
The next party chair will be voted on by the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee during its next meeting on January 12.
McCall said she made the decision to run for head of the state’s Democratic Party last week after being asked and encouraged to run by numerous union leaders, political activist organizations and prominent stakeholders.
Regarding the current chair of the state’s Democratic party, Mary Mancini, McCall said that she considers her a friend, but that the party needs to make significant changes if it is to continue to gain ground in Tennessee.
“I like Mary, but I feel like we are very spread out, and I think that we should narrow our focus, I think we should focus on doing just two or three things, and do them excellently,” McCall said. “I think we sometimes become a little overambitious, with the result that we’re not seeing a whole lot of success anywhere.”
One major improvement McCall said she would like to see implemented by Tennessee Democrats is more direct and constant communication, which she called an “up to date, full-service communication shop.”
“Sending out press releases and an occasional Facebook post is not cutting it,” McCall said. “We need a full service digital shop to compete with the other party, we need to be creating our own original content. There’s a publication called the Tennessee Star that represents the right very well. Now, I don’t agree with anything they say, but I think they do an excellent job of representing the views of the far-right conservatives, and we don’t have anything like that.”
Another focus McCall would like to see Tennessee Democrats hone in on is focusing on hyper-local races, such as city aldermen, school boards and county commissions.
“We are spread way too thin, and I think there’s no real way to measure our success,” McCall said. “Yes, I’m glad we picked up one state House seat, but we are still in the super minority, and that is not a measure of success. It’s going to take at least 20 years [to win back the state House], and I think we need to go back to the very hyper-local, grassroots, recruit people to run for county commissions, school boards, and that is not something that’s being done.”
McCall ran in 2016 for the District 65 Tennessee House seat now occupied by Rep. Sam Whitson.
McCall said she believes the significant progress of Democrats in Williamson County during the recent midterm elections, which saw huge leaps in voter turnout for Democratic candidates, could be extended to the entirety of the state.
“We went from having zero Democratic candidates on the ballot for county commission for 20 years, to 19, and this huge increase of Democratic turnout,” McCall said. “We had enough success there, that I think that is a strategy that we could probably replicate across the state.”