Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson, a gun security advocate who rose to prominence as one of many so-called “Tennessee Three,” has introduced that she’s operating for U.S. Senate towards Republican incumbent Marsha Blackburn.
The Tennessee state lawmaker launched her marketing campaign on Tuesday close to Knoxville’s Central Excessive Faculty, the place she was a particular schooling instructor and a survivor of a 2008 capturing that left one pupil useless. Johnson is anticipated to seem in Nashville and Memphis later within the day.
“I’m tired of Tennessee families being betrayed by those that represent them, over and over and over,” Johnson stated on the occasion, referring to the state legislature’s current particular session that ended final week with no resolutions on gun management.
Johnson was one of many three Tennessee Democrats who gained nationwide consideration in March after becoming a member of gun security protesters on the Home flooring in response to the mass capturing at a personal Christian faculty in Nashville. Three youngsters and three adults have been shot useless at The Covenant Faculty, leading to an uproar over the state’s gun legal guidelines.
Freshman Democratic state Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones, each of whom are Black, have been expelled from the Home by the largely white GOP caucus in April earlier than being reinstated after which reclaiming their seats in a particular election final month. Johnson narrowly averted expulsion and has stated that she was spared as a result of she’s white.
Pearson is a co-chair for Johnson’s marketing campaign, which places a heavy concentrate on gun reform and abortion rights.
“I know fighting for justice has a cost. I learned that firsthand as a little girl when I had to sleep in the hallway instead of my bedroom to avoid being shot because my dad had the courage to bring the KKK to justice,” Johnson stated in her marketing campaign announcement video. Her father was an FBI particular agent who helped examine the Klan’s exercise within the Deep South.
She added that different politicians “don’t like me much because I speak my mind. And when it’s bullshit, I call it bullshit.”
Johnson has had a roller-coaster political profession after being elected to the state Home in 2012. She misplaced reelection in 2014, solely to reclaim her seat 4 years later. She then received reelection in 2020 however confronted new congressional district traces redrawn by her GOP colleagues. The lawmaker moved and received in her new district final 12 months.
The candidate instructed Knox Information that she had deliberate to run for U.S. Senate earlier than changing into one of many Tennessee Three. The state has not been represented by a Democrat within the Senate since 1995.
Blackburn’s marketing campaign released a statement in response to Johnson’s announcement, calling her a “radial socialist” who entered the race “at the urging of liberals in Washington.”
“State Rep. Johnson is as woke as they come, and she would be a puppet for Joe Biden, the Squad, and [Senate Majority Leader] Chuck Schumer in the Senate,” stated Blackburn marketing campaign spokesperson Abigail Sigler.
“While Senator Blackburn is working hard to fight back against Biden’s woke agenda, State Rep. Johnson is pushing that divisive, destructive agenda here in Tennessee,” Sigler added. “Woke,” a time period initially used to explain people who find themselves conscious of social injustices, has grow to be a buzzword that conservatives have co-opted to disparage their opponents.
In her marketing campaign video, Johnson went after Blackburn’s assist for a federal abortion ban and her vote towards decreasing prescription drug prices.
“We deserve health care and prescriptions that don’t make us go broke. We deserve the freedom to make our own choices with our bodies,” the Democrat stated. “And most importantly, we deserve a leader with the courage to stand up to extremists and billionaires that have taken over our system. That person ain’t Marsha Blackburn, but it is me.”