Top Tennessee Democrat apologizes for saying 'this is a racist state'

Top Tennessee Democrat apologizes for saying 'this is a racist state'
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The chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party is apologizing after calling the state “racist.”

Mary Mancini, reelected this year to her third term leading the state’s Democratic Party, made the comments during visits to local county Democrats as she was discussing her attempts to put forward a more diverse slate of candidates, according to the Tennessean.

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She apologized Wednesday after receiving backlash for her statements, according to the newspaper.

"We have a little bit of a problem in this state, and I'm just going to say it out right. This is a racist state,” she said.

"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 at the time.

Another audio recording from a separate event reportedly has her saying Tennessee is "a very racist state."

She apologized for her choice of words in a statement to the Tennessean.

"In the heat and the frustration of seeing and hearing the constant drumbeat of bigotry, misogyny and homophobia coming from the Republicans at the state legislature, I used a poor choice of words and vented my frustration and I apologize," Mancini said.

"My statement is not representative of how I or the Tennessee Democratic Party view the people of our state. Racism is not an issue that we can shy away from addressing head-on," she continued.

"However, I am more aware than ever that words matter when discussing tough issues like race. I commit to continuing this conversation thoughtfully and respectfully with the voters of Tennessee," she added.

State Rep. London Lamar (D) last year apologized for a similar instance where he said “Tennessee is racist,” according to the local news outlet.