Tennessee state Rep. Gloria Johnson, a Democrat who shot to nationwide fame after surviving a Republican-led expulsion effort for collaborating in a pro-gun management demonstration, has introduced that she’s operating for U.S. Senate in a state that has solely elected GOP statewide candidates for practically 20 years.
Johnson, 61, is operating for a seat at the moment held by Republican U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, 71, who’s in search of reelection.
“Gloria has devoted her life to combating for justice and standing tall for Tennesseans who’ve been disregarded, left behind, or left with out a voice,” a press launch saying her Senate bid said.
In April, simply days after a college capturing that killed 6 folks, Johnson joined fellow Democratic Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones as they walked to the entrance of the state Home flooring with a bullhorn. The trio joined the chants and cries for gun management laws by protesters within the public galleries and out of doors of the chamber.
The violation of Home protocols rapidly sparked outrage amongst Republican lawmakers, who demanded they be expelled for violating Home guidelines — a punishment that had solely been used a handful of occasions since Reconstruction.
The showdown between the Democratic lawmakers and the Republican supermajority attracted nationwide consideration as many pointed to the state of affairs as the newest entrance within the battle for the way forward for American democracy, whereas additionally amplifying the political profiles of the group that was rapidly dubbed the “Tennessee Three.”
Pearson and Jones, who’re each Black, had been expelled, whereas Johnson, who’s white, was spared by one vote. Shortly after the expulsion vote, Johnson rapidly famous that probably she averted expulsion as a result of she was white. Republicans denied that race was an element. As an alternative, they stated some members could been persuaded that she wasn’t disruptive as Jones or Pearson. Each males have since been reelected to their positions.
Blackburn first received the Tennessee Senate seat in 2018, defeating Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen by nearly 11 proportion factors.
Blackburn was the primary feminine Senator elected by Tennessee voters. The race additionally marked a noticeable rightward shift within the state’s political panorama in a state beforehand recognized for electing centrist politicians.
Blackburn launched her senate marketing campaign by touting that she was a “hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative” and aligned herself intently to former President Donald Trump. She is at the moment endorsing Trump within the 2024 presidential race.
Within the Democratic main for the Senate seat, Johnson will face off towards neighborhood activist and organizer Marquita Bradshaw. Bradshaw received the Democratic Senate nomination in 2020, and misplaced the final election to Republican Invoice Hagerty by 27 proportion factors.
“It’s no shock that radical socialist Gloria Johnson determined to leap into the race on the urging of liberals in Washington, becoming a member of Marquita Bradshaw and others within the race for the Democratic nomination,” stated Blackburn’s marketing campaign spokesperson, Abigail Sigler. “State Rep. Johnson is as woke as they arrive, and he or she can be a puppet for Joe Biden, the Squad, and Chuck Schumer within the Senate.”