At least two Nashville-based state House members are seeking the open position of House Democratic Caucus chair.
Reps. John Ray Clemmons and Vincent Dixie have both told their colleagues they are seeking the position being vacated by fellow Nashville Rep. Mike Stewart.
Stewart was re-elected to the House but decided to step down as caucus chair. Democrats will remain in the super-minority next year, as they held on to the same 26 seats they held during the previous term.
A third potential candidate, Nashville Rep. Bo Mitchell, told the Post he is considering running for chair. The House Democratic leadership elections are expected to be held early next month. So far, no challengers have emerged against Minority Leader Karen Camper of Memphis and Democratic Floor Leader Harold Love of Nashville.
Dixie, currently caucus treasurer, was just elected to his second term in the House. He told members in a letter that he would prioritize caucus fundraising if elected, in addition to bolstering internal and external communication.
“I’m not recreating the wheel here — just making it roll better,” Dixie wrote. “With our coordinated strategy, our power will grow in the House Chamber and across Tennessee. But this does not happen until we come together under one vision.”
Clemmons was first elected to the House in 2014. An attorney and former Tennessee Democratic Party staffer, Clemmons said looming redistricting would be a priority as party chair. Republicans in the legislature will control the process to set legislative districts for the next decade.
“As we head into redistricting in 2021, it is imperative that our caucus be led by someone with the experience, tenacity and legal background necessary to protect our seats and fight any and all attempts to gerrymander,” he told the Post.
The caucus election is not the only change coming for Tennessee Democrats. State party chair Mary Mancini recently announced she would not seek another term in the leadership position. Several candidates are exploring candidacies or already running for the position, including Democratic Caucus member London Lamar of Memphis.
After holding back several attempts to flip Republican-held seats, the House GOP is holding leadership elections of their own later this month. No challenger to Speaker Cameron Sexton has emerged, and Rep. Andrew Farmer on Monday dropped his bid to oust Majority Leader William Lamberth. Former state Republican Party chair Robin Smith, entering her second term in the House, is challenging House Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison.