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The two Black Tennessee lawmakers who were expelled from the state House over a gun control protest have won back their seats.

On Thursday (August 3rd), Representatives Justin Pearson (D-Memphis) and Justin Jones (D-Nashville) both won their special election races handily. Jones defeated the Republican challenger Laura Nelson with 80% of the vote to again represent House District 52 covering most of eastern Nashville. Pearson beat independent Jeff Johnson with 93% of the vote. Jones celebrated with a triumphant post on Twitter late Thursday evening. “Well, Mr. Speaker, the People have spoken. The FIND OUT era of politics is just beginning. See you August 21st for special session,” he wrote.

“I think if we keep running this race, there will be victory after victory after victory,” Pearson said after his win in a statement, thanking Black women for mobilizing voters. “I look forward to heading back to the Tennessee state capitol on Aug. 21 for the special session on gun legislation. We, the People, will march, rally and work to pass legislation.”

Jones and Pearson became nationally known after being expelled from the state House, which is under a Republican majority. The two, along with Rep. Gloria Johnson, led supporters of a protest over the massacre at The Covenant School in Nashville back in March. The lawmakers used a bullhorn as they took to the House floor while protesting for better gun control legislation. The leaders of the House called the actions “an insurrection” and made the move to vote to expel Pearson and Jones, both Black – but not Johnson. 

The expulsion led to the lawmakers being dubbed “The Tennessee Three” as they gained support nationwide, with Vice President Kamala Harris vocalizing her support in a speech in Nashville shortly afterward and the White House inviting them for a visit. Jones and Pearson would be swiftly reinstated to their seats by local government officials the following month before the special elections were held. Johnson is believed to be preparing to challenge current Senator Marsha Blackburn for her seat next year. 

Expelled Black Tennessee Lawmakers Win Back Their Seats  was originally published on