Tennessee state Rep. Gloria Johnson (D) is officially running for Senate in hopes of unseating Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R), who will need to go before voters next year for re-election.
Johnson, currently running in the Democratic primary, is among the state legislators known as the “Tennessee Three” who famously expressed support from the floor of the state legislature for protests against gun violence — and faced votes from their Republican colleagues on their potential expulsion from the chamber afterwards. The effort to expel Johnson failed. (The two others were expelled but swiftly returned to their positions, first selected on an interim basis and then victorious in special elections.) Johnson and the other two, Democratic state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, have met even with President Joe Biden.
Their efforts have a poignant geographical context, as it was in Nashville — the Tennessee capital city — where a mass shooting at a private school ended with six victims dead, including three young children. In a message available on Johnson’s campaign website, she also points to other major issues of concern for many, including the availability of abortion.
“Tennesseans are fed up with corrupt, “do nothing” politicians, like Marsha Blackburn, who has taken millions from the pharmaceutical industry, the NRA and the insurance industry while voting against lowering our drug costs, against bipartisan gun reform, and for denying coverage for people with pre-existing conditions,” the Johnson website asserts. “And Tennessee women deserve a Senator who trusts them to make their own medical decisions, unlike Blackburn who called the repeal of Roe v. Wade “a blessing” and has long supported passing a federal abortion ban.”
Blackburn has often in the Senate gone right along with what’s simply the general Republican approach, lately helping spread deceptive claims about ostensible corruption involving the Bidens. Republicans in the House may soon use these claims, involving business transactions in which Hunter Biden was involved, as part of the basis for an impeachment inquiry targeting the president, though no direct financial connection between the president and Hunter Biden’s scrutinized dealings has in reality been established.