Jeff Yarbro Defeats Mary Mancini In Senate District 21 Primary

Tennessean Logo

Jeff Yarbro Election Night

Photo: Sanford Myers/The Tennessean

The district has been solidly Democratic, re-electing Douglas Henry 11 consecutive times since 1970. The 88-year-old senator was the legislature's most senior leader, a self-described conservative Democrat known as much for his colorful character — gnawing on unlit cigars during committee hearings — as for his championing of conservative Democratic causes. Henry announced his retirement earlier this year to care for his wife, Lolly.

Mancini and Yarbro both ran an aggressive but respectful campaign that highlighted their difference in style rather than substance. Both support an expansion of Medicaid and speaking up for working-class residents in a Republican-dominated legislature.

Read more

Jeff Yarbro Picks Up Second Labor Endorsement This Week

March 13, 2014

Make it two labor endorsements for Democratic state Senate Candidate Jeff Yarbro this week.

And it's really more than that.

Yarbro, who's running against Mary Mancini in the District 21 primary, announced this morning that he's received the endorsement of the Nashville Building and Construction Trades Council, and all of its 17 affiliated unions, as he did when he first ran in 2010.

“We are proud to support Jeff because he understands that our members go to work when our state economy is growing,” says the council's president, Anthony Nicholson, in the announcement. “Working construction means waking up before dawn, putting on your boots, and joining your crew to make things work. That’s what Jeff is about.”

Read more




By: Bobby Allyn

March 13, 2014

A Nashville union representing thousands of workers endorsed Jeff Yarbro on Wednesday in one of the most highly anticipated state Senate races.

The Nashville Building and Construction Trades Council, representing 17 trade councils including roofers, carpenters and cement masons, threw their support behind Yarbro, who is vying for Senate District 21. The seat will be vacated by Sen. Douglas Henry, who plans to retire after more than four decades in office.

Read more

It's a noble goal in the District 21 race — keep Tennessee from writing Jon Stewart's punchlines


Jeff Yarbro and Mary Mancini are both running against The Daily Show.

Not against its gleefully sardonic host Jon Stewart, who is held up as a patron saint for chronically depressed Tennessee Democrats. Rather, they're running against the fact that his show, and that of his cohort Stephen Colbert, has looked toward Tennessee with increasing frequency for tales of political absurdity.

As the Democratic primary in Senate District 21 begins in earnest with the new year, Yarbro and Mancini have each name-checked the late-night Comedy Central shows in messages to supporters and in interviews with reporters. Such references have become shorthand for criticism of Tennessee's Republican-controlled legislature, not that either candidate has veiled their disapproval of the menace they say they'll work to stop.

Since the start of this year's legislative session, dispatches from the Yarbro campaign have directed attention toward the failures of the state government, and started cataloguing the Colbert bait coming from the legislature.

"Our government can't and shouldn't try to solve everyone's problems for them," said Yarbro in one email to supporters. "But too often, our state government is making things worse."

In that message, he highlighted Tennessee's refusal to expand Medicaid, its status as one of five states without a minimum-wage law, and its low level of support for public schools compared to other states. In another, he lamented the legislature's first week in session, featuring "one bad idea after another." Among those bad ideas: a bill prohibiting the state from cooperating in implementing or administering Obamacare and the defeat of legislation that would have let college students use university IDs to vote.

"The legislature right now is failing to represent Tennessee, or do what's in the state's best interest," Yarbro said in an interview with the Scene this week.

He says big majorities of Tennesseans support things like investing in pre-K and expanding Medicaid, but the supermajority isn't listening.

"Too often the legislature is listening almost exclusively to the extremists on the right," he says.

Read more

Even with Jason Holleman out, the District 21 Democratic primary is still the best race in town


Less than six months after Metro Councilman Jason Holleman and attorney Jeff Yarbro lined up in May for the race of next year — of the decade, nay, the century! — local liberal activist Mary Mancini announced she was joining the Democratic primary race to replace longtime state Sen. Doug Henry in District 21. Now, little more than a month later, Holleman has announced he's getting out.

So what does this mean? Well, that's easy. We give you ... Mary Mancini vs. Jeff Yarbro: The Hottest Race of 2014.

In other words, it's not yet clear.

At first blush — not to suggest that campaign punditry is shallow — Holleman's exit would seem to complicate matters for Mancini. As a clear alternative to two white male attorneys from Sylvan Park — whose policy positions are about as close to each other as their homes — Mancini seemed positioned to benefit from a three-way race. Her record of activism, and days as a record-shop owner, give her instant credibility with a set of local liberals. Their support, combined with the votes of Democrats either unable or unwilling to decide between Holleman and Yarbro (whether for social or political reasons) and topped off with some won-over undecideds, might have meant victory for Mancini.

With Holleman out, she would seem to face a steeper climb. Yarbro has been seen as the favorite to replace Henry ever since he narrowly lost to the Distinguished Gentleman in 2010. Although the district has been redrawn since then, campaign experience at the state level can't hurt. He also entered the campaign without the cumbersome political baggage Holleman carried from his public run-ins with the Dean administration (some members of which openly support Yarbro).

Read more

Megan Barry, Jeff Yarbro, Lamar Alexander winners in 'Post' straw poll

Nashville Post logo



Published October 29, 2013 by Steve Cavendish

Read more

One year out: Holleman vs. Yarbro shapes up to be hottest race of 2014

080213 HoBro topper.jpg
Jason Holleman (left) and Jeff Yarbro
Read more

Yarbro, Holleman both say they will run for Henry's Senate seat