Gloria Johnson, a Member of the “Tennessee Three,” Announces U.S. Senate Run

A Democrat hasn’t gained a U.S. Senate race in Tennessee since 1990.

A Tennessee state lawmaker — one among three who had been focused for punishment by Republicans within the state Home of Representatives for main a protest in favor of gun reform — has introduced that she is working for the U.S. Senate seat that’s up for election subsequent 12 months.

State Rep. Gloria Johnson (D) made the announcement by sharing a campaign video on X, the positioning previously referred to as Twitter. The start of the advert options audio of stories stories of mass shootings.

Johnson then asks, “When will sufficient be sufficient? When will we elect leaders with the braveness to face up for us as an alternative of a bunch of bullies and cowards who solely do what their occasion says?”

Johnson notes within the advert that she and “her mates” — a reference to Reps. Justin Jones (D) and Justin Pearson (D) — fought for gun laws within the state legislature earlier this 12 months following a mass capturing that killed three folks, together with six youngsters, at Covenant College in Nashville. The three led a protest on the ground of the state Home of Representatives, which resulted in them being subjected to an expulsion vote by the Republican-led chamber.

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Johnson was the one member of the trio who wasn’t expelled, which she attributed to the truth that she is white and Jones and Pearson are Black. (“I believe it’s fairly clear. I’m a 60-year-old white girl and they’re two younger Black males,” Johnson stated in April.)

Johnson has continued to press for gun reform alongside Jones and Pearson, who’ve since been reinstated and reelected to their positions.

Past the problem of gun violence, Johnson’s announcement discussed her assist for making well being care extra inexpensive, in addition to her need to guard reproductive rights. Within the video, Johnson stated that Tennessee deserves a frontrunner “with the braveness to face as much as extremists and billionaires which have taken over our system.”

“That individual ain’t Marsha Blackburn,” Johnson went on, referencing the incumbent Republican U.S. senator whom Johnson will seemingly face off in opposition to within the 2024 basic election if she wins the Democratic major.

Johnson has a tough highway forward of her, as Tennessee is taken into account a “pink” state and customarily helps Republicans in statewide races. Certainly, former President Donald Trump — whom Blackburn is an ardent supporter of — gained the state within the 2020 race in opposition to President Joe Biden by more than 23 points. Blackburn herself gained the state by almost 11 points in her 2018 senatorial election.

A win by Johnson could be historic — the final Democrat to win a U.S. Senate election in Tennessee was former Vice President Al Gore in 1990.

Though Johnson faces tough odds, polling signifies that almost all Tennesseeans assist the views she’s campaigning on. A Vanderbilt University poll published in May discovered that 82 p.c of residents within the state stated they approve of measures to strengthen background checks, for instance, whereas 75 p.c stated they assist “pink flag” legal guidelines to forestall sure folks from shopping for weapons. Fifty p.c stated they approve of banning assault weapons, whereas 42 p.c stated they had been against such a coverage.

That very same ballot discovered that almost all within the state are against Tennessee’s present abortion ban, which forbids the process in any respect phases of being pregnant. The language of the ban is ambiguous relating to exceptions, together with in circumstances when the lifetime of a pregnant individual is in danger.

The ballot additionally suggests {that a} majority of Tennessee voters assist abortion at some phases of being pregnant. Whereas a majority stated they’re high quality with a 15-week abortion ban, 59 percent of respondents said that access to abortion medication should be kept in place.

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