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Tennessee Democratic Party Chair reflects on Democratic debate

Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-26 21:59:43-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Potential democratic nominees for president have been traveling the country, debating, and sharing their ideas with voters for months, and in less than a week, Tennesseans will place their votes in hopes that their candidate will face President Donald Trump in the general election.

While much of the conversation has been about policy and about defeating the incumbent, much of the conversation between candidates has also been targeting other candidates, which happened Tuesday night at the debate in South Carolina.

According to a CBS News poll, 69% of democratic debate watchers believed that the candidates spent more time criticizing each other than making a case for themselves.

Some have argued that it may be hurting the democratic party, while others say the debates are energizing the voters.

“The most important thing is what this is doing is exciting democrats in Tennessee," Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, said. "As much as it’s making some of us really angsty, it’s also increasing the level of excitement here for voting for democrats in general and voting for a specific candidate when the time comes in November.”

Mancini said that Tennessee is an extremely important state in the election, even though it's lumped in with more than a dozen other states on Super Tuesday.

“Tennessee has 73 delegates that we are going to send to the convention in Milwaukee," Mancini explained, adding that candidates realize it's importance, and are targeting Tennessee voters leading up to Super Tuesday. “The candidates themselves have scheduled to come here, they’re deploying their surrogates to come here, they’re having house parties, they’re signing up volunteers.”

Early voting numbers show a positive trend for the Democratic Party in Tennessee, with more people expected to vote in 2020 than in the 2016 primary election.

“We had about 122,000 democrats who have turned out to vote," Mancini said of early voting, adding that the final day of early voting had yet to be tallied. "In 2016, the total we had was 128,000 roughly, so with just without one day of early voting and with election day still to come on Super Tuesday, we are on track to surpass that number, which is really incredibly exciting.”

Mancini said she believes Tennessee will be a swing state come November and she's hopeful a democratic presidential nominee could carry the state in the general election.