"Tennessee three"

The "Tennessee three," Democratic state Reps. Justin J. Pearson, Rep. Gloria Johnson, and Justin Jones, speak at the White House in Washington, D.C., on April 24, 2023.

(Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

'Run, Gloria, Run!' Tennessee Three Democrat Urged to Challenge Sen. Blackburn in 2024

"Honestly, Tennesseans deserve someone who will stand up to corrupt special interests, fight for lower costs so that every family can build a good life, and that's not Marsha Blackburn," said state Rep. Gloria Johnson.

Politico's Friday reporting that one of the "Tennessee Three"—Democratic state Rep. Gloria Johnson—is considering a run next year for the seat held by GOP U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn generated excitement across the Volunteer State and throughout the country.

Welcoming the "amazing news" that the Democrat may try to challenge the first-term Republican, Victor Shi, the youngest elected delegate for President Joe Biden in 2020, tweeted that "Tennessee deserves so much better than Marsha."

Johnson, who represents District 90, "is a friend, she has fought time and time again for Gen Z and young people (as both a teacher and state rep.)," Shi added. "She is the perfect person to be the next U.S. senator from Tennessee."

Kyle Tharp of the newsletter FWIW simply said, "Run, Gloria, Run!"

"I'm taking a serious look at the race and having conversations with folks that are hungry for better leadership in Washington," Johnson told Politico. "Honestly, Tennesseans deserve someone who will stand up to corrupt special interests, fight for lower costs so that every family can build a good life, and that's not Marsha Blackburn."

Johnson is expected to make a decision about whether to run by the end of the summer. Politico noted that she would not "have the primary field to herself. Marquita Bradshaw, an environmental activist and her party's 2020 Senate nominee, has filed to run again. Three years ago, she bested James Mackler, the candidate preferred by national Democrats, and then lost to incumbent Bill Hagerty by 27 points."

The former teacher has previously confirmed she is weighing a Senate run, telling the Chattanooga Times Free Press in late May that "there have been a whole lot of people, very serious people, asking me to do it. And so I told them I would seriously consider doing it."

"It needs to be done. People want somebody who will stand up for Tennessee families, and they just don't feel Marsha's doing the job. There's a lot of issues with Marsha, I believe. Mainly, what I hear is she's not voting for Tennessee families," Johnson added.

In April, Johnson and two of her Democratic colleagues in the Tennessee House of Representatives faced a GOP-led expulsion effort over the trio's protest for gun control legislation on the chamber floor in the wake of the Covenant School shooting.

Tennessee Republicans ultimately declined to oust Johnson, a white woman in her 60s, but they expelled Reps. Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson —though local councils swiftly voted to send both younger Black men back to the chamber.

The multiday battle garnered intense media attention and elevated the Tennessee Three to national platforms. Asked by reporters at the time why she was spared expulsion, Johnson said: "I'll answer your question; it might have to do with the color of our skin."

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