Ahead of this week’s special election primary for the currently held seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives by State Representative Justin Jones, young activist Justin Jones, who was raised Catholic, has reported a surge in fundraising, which is seen as a result of the expulsion from the earlier legislature and the international zeitgeist.
In a recent financial disclosure filed in June, Nancy Pelosi, a U.S. Representative, reported contributions of just under $65,000 from various public officials, including Christian clergy members.
Shortly after Jones was reappointed to his seat on an interim basis, the Nashville Metro Council extended the donation period for the report from late April to early June. Pelosi, one of the largest contributors with a donation of $1,000, joined hundreds of small-scale donors from various states, including Tennessee and Jones’ home state of California.
Laura Nelson, a Republican, will run unopposed in the Democratic primary before the fall. He officially announced his candidacy for the special election for his seat last month, which will take place on Thursday, June 15th.
He wrote on Twitter, “The first step in the democratic process is to challenge the decision of the authoritarian and restore full representation to our district.”
Join us in the fight to protect kids, not guns. This election is a referendum on democracy. This election is about much more than just a single campaign or candidate. While I have a Republican opponent.
Mike Stewart, who has long championed progressive causes in the 52nd district of Tennessee, was originally elected to the House of Representatives as a representative for the predominantly brown and Black central and eastern parts of Nashville. He was later banned from the building after being arrested twice during protests and has been a vocal advocate for the state’s progressive agenda in the Republican-led state. Jones, who is 27 years old, has succeeded in his role as a representative.
Following a mass shooting at Covenant School in Nashville three days prior, Democrat legislators from Tennessee, including Justin J. Pearson, a fellow Black state representative from Memphis, led a gun control protest at the state capitol in March of this year.
Jones, who was accused by Republican legislators of illicitly using a bullhorn to disrupt House proceedings, was brought up for an expulsion vote, along with Pearson and a third participant, State Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is White. On April 6, Pearson and Jones were expelled from the Republican party-line vote, while Johnson managed to avoid losing her seat. This sparked accusations of racism against the GOP legislators, among other concerns.
Jones posted a tweet on June 9th addressing Republican State Representative Jeremy Falson, stating, “You supported the removal of the two most youthful African American lawmakers in our region as a result of our collective protest demanding rational firearm regulations.”
“Meanwhile, you protected your Republican Vice-Chair who was sexually harassing an intern until it became public. That’s corruption.”
House GOP leaders promptly shelved the bill proposed by Jones in Tennessee, criminalizing the possession or production of a firearm with a capacity exceeding 10 rounds. Jones was reinstated and inaugurated amidst a large gathering on the state capitol’s staircase on April 11, just three days later.
Jones’ former school, where he was involved in the Catholic campus ministry, is the place where Harris met with both of them on the same day at Fisk University. On April 7, he and Pearson had a conversation with the president through a conference call, and a meeting with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris is one of the prominent endorsements Jones has garnered nationwide, including a resolution in the California State Assembly, following his expulsion.
The Tennessee Three all later met with Biden at the White House on April 24th, where he commended their guidance.
Biden remarked, “However, you swiftly reversed the situation. Moreover, it occurred without any prior occurrence, it was unrepresentative, and it was astonishing what that Republican governing body accomplished.”
“When it comes to democracy, there is no guarantee. Every generation must strive to safeguard it. And all of you are effectively accomplishing just that.”
Since April, Jones has outraised his Republican opponent in the special election by a significant margin, making his victory in August’s heavily Democratic district near a portending surefire.