Tennessee Representatives Pearson and Jones Progress in Democratic Primaries Following Expulsion and Reinstatement

by Sophia Chen
Tennessee representatives

Following their expulsion earlier this year for a gun control protest on the House floor, Tennessee Representatives Justin Pearson and Justin Jones, both young Black lawmakers, have successfully advanced past a significant election hurdle. They were later reinstated by local officials, clearing the path for their continued participation.

In his Memphis district, Pearson emerged victorious over his Democratic opponent, David Page, in the Thursday primary election, according to unofficial results from the Shelby County Election Commission, with all precincts reporting. Pearson will now go on to compete against independent candidate Jeff Johnston in the general election scheduled for August 3. Notably, there is no Republican candidate for this seat, which generally leans towards the Democrats.

Jones, on the other hand, faced no opposition in Thursday’s primary election for his Nashville seat, which is also predominantly Democratic. He is set to face Republican Laura Nelson in the general election on August 3.

During a phone interview on Friday, Pearson expressed his satisfaction with the primary outcome in his special election, considering it a triumph in his district’s ongoing “quest to restore its representation.” He emphasized the importance of respecting the people’s choice and voice in a democracy, criticizing the Republican Party of Tennessee for failing to honor the will of District 86.

The Big Big News did not provide a comprehensive tabulation of the election results.

The protest staged by Pearson and Jones occurred on March 30, just three days after a tragic shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville, resulting in the deaths of three 9-year-olds and three adults. While the Republican lawmakers expelled Pearson and Jones on April 6 for breaching decorum rules during the protest, Democratic Representative Gloria Johnson, who is white, narrowly escaped expulsion by a single vote due to her involvement in the demonstration.

Within a week, both Nashville and Shelby County officials, encompassing Memphis, voted to reinstate the lawmakers on an interim basis. Subsequently, Pearson, Jones, and Johnson gained national prominence, making appearances in various national media outlets, receiving campaign donations from across the country, and meeting with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House.

Pearson, a Memphis native who attended high school in the same district he now represents, serves a sprawling district along the Mississippi River, spanning neighborhoods, forests, and wetlands in south Memphis, traversing parts of downtown, and extending north into semi-rural communities. He initially won a special election primary for his seat in January and was subsequently appointed to fill the position early since he had no general election opponent. After his expulsion, he was once again appointed to the seat. If successful in the August general election, he will face re-election in the 2024 cycle, with a primary in August and a general election in November.

Jones’ district includes Nashville’s Antioch neighborhood, southeastern areas of the city, parts of East Nashville, and encompasses Nashville International Airport. He was elected in 2022 and is also due for re-election in 2024.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are gearing up for a special session called by Republican Governor Bill Lee, who aims to implement measures that would restrict firearms for individuals deemed dangerous to themselves or others. During the legislative session that concluded in April, Republicans, who hold supermajorities in the House and Senate, declined to address Lee’s proposal. The governor stated this week that it could take a couple more months to define the parameters of the session as he gathers input from legislators.

Democrats have advocated for a range of gun control reforms that go beyond Lee’s proposed measures. Pearson has introduced more than a dozen gun-related bills, some of which seek to ban high-capacity magazines, prohibit the production of semi-automatic rifles in Tennessee, and establish a red-flag law—an idea that Lee argues does not align with his proposal.

Pearson remarked, “Instead of campaigning at this time, we should be fully prepared for the special session, ensuring that the legislation we put forth receives a fair opportunity to be heard. That’s where our time and efforts should be focused. However, due to the unjust actions of the Republican Party, we find ourselves having to run again.”

Julia Bruck, spokesperson for the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, stated that local officials estimate the cost of administering the special election in Nashville to be around $120,000, while the Memphis election is projected to range between $375,000 and $500,000.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tennessee representatives, primaries, gun control, reinstatement

What led to the expulsion and reinstatement of Tennessee Reps. Pearson and Jones?

Tennessee Reps. Pearson and Jones were expelled after staging a gun control protest on the House floor. However, they were later reinstated by local officials on an interim basis.

Who did Tennessee Rep. Pearson defeat in the Democratic primary?

Tennessee Rep. Pearson defeated his Democratic opponent David Page in the primary election for his Memphis district.

Who will Tennessee Rep. Jones face in the general election?

Tennessee Rep. Jones will face Republican Laura Nelson in the general election for his Nashville seat.

What role did the Republican Party play in the lawmakers’ expulsion?

The Republican lawmakers expelled Pearson and Jones for violating decorum rules during their protest. However, Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson, who also participated, narrowly avoided expulsion by one vote.

What are some key issues and proposals mentioned in the text?

Gun control reforms, including banning high-capacity magazines and creating a red-flag law, were among the key issues and proposals highlighted in the text.

When will the general election take place?

The general election is scheduled for August 3.

What is the significance of the upcoming special session?

The special session, called by Republican Governor Bill Lee, aims to address firearm restrictions for individuals deemed dangerous. Lawmakers will be deliberating on this issue and considering various proposals.

How did Pearson, Jones, and Johnson gain national prominence?

After their expulsion and subsequent reinstatement, Pearson, Jones, and Johnson gained national prominence through media appearances, campaign donations, and visits to the White House to meet with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

More about Tennessee representatives, primaries, gun control, reinstatement

You may also like


johndoe56 June 17, 2023 - 1:47 pm

wow tennese reps pearson n jones get expelled bt thn reinstated aftr gun protest? thats cray cray. they won primaries too! gonna b intresting genral election #excited

wordlover June 17, 2023 - 1:52 pm

i’m glad pearson beat david page in democratic primary! go pearson! hope he wins general election 2. and jones facing republican laura nelson, hmm lets see how that goes. gun control is a big deal!

bookworm25 June 17, 2023 - 7:38 pm

interesting read! didn’t know about the whole backstory of the expulsion and reinstatement of these reps. so much drama in politics! curious to see what happens in the special session and if any meaningful gun control measures are passed.


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News