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Expelled Members of ‘Tennessee Three’ Successfully Reclaim State House Seats



Two Tennessee lawmakers, Reps. Justin Pearson and Justin Jones, have reclaimed their legislative seats after being expelled for participating in a gun control protest on the House floor. The young Black Democrats were reinstated on an interim basis and subsequently won special elections to fully reclaim their positions. Both easily defeated their opponents in districts that heavily favor Democrats. While their re-election won’t significantly impact the Republican supermajority in the legislature, they are expected to push back against some GOP colleagues’ policies, particularly on gun control. Pearson attributed his victory to the support of Black women and their organizing efforts. The expulsion of Pearson and Jones briefly left primarily Black districts without representation in the Tennessee House. Their expulsions drew national support for the “Tennessee Three” and boosted their campaign fundraising. Pearson and Jones raised over $2 million combined, a significant amount for freshman Democrats in a superminority. The election also influenced two other legislative seats, with Aftyn Behn and Anthony Davis vying for a House seat in Nashville, and Timothy Hill facing Lori Love in a general election for a Republican-leaning district in eastern Tennessee.



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