Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Apologizes After Calling State Racist

March 21, 2019 AT 7:15 AM

By Natalie Allison

The chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party has issued an apology after saying certain Democratic candidates have struggled to gain traction because the state is racist.

Mary Mancini, re-elected by the state party's executive committee in January to her third two-year term as its leader, says she chose the wrong words while discussing the state of politics in Tennessee during a recent tour to visit local county Democratic parties.

"We have a little bit of a problem in this state, and I'm just going to say it out right," Mancini said while speaking earlier this month with the Coffee County Democratic Party. "This is a racist state."

Mancini made the comment while talking about how the state party should continue to put forward candidates who are less conventional in Tennessee, including black and Latino people, millennials and members of the LGBTQ community.

"We have to disregard that old trope that Tennessee Democrats have been living under, which is that we have to find a candidate that looks like the community," she said.

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