Feb 12, 2024 - News

Gloria Johnson wants to run for both U.S. Senate and Tennessee House

Gloria Johnson speaking to a scrum of reporters.

State Rep. Gloria Johnson speaking to reporters last April. Photo: Seth Herald/Getty Images

State Rep. Gloria Johnson announced last week plans to run for re-election for her Knoxville-area Tennessee House seat in addition to her bid for the U.S. Senate.

Why it matters: Johnson is one of the "Tennessee Three" and among the most prominent Democrats in the legislature.

  • Running for both seats could allow Johnson to maintain her role in the House if her underdog Senate bid against incumbent Sen. Marsha Blackburn is unsuccessful.
  • Since the Senate is the higher office, that's the office Johnson would choose if she won both seats. The Knox County Commission would then pick her interim replacement.

Yes, but: Republican lawmakers aren't keen on the idea of Johnson running for both offices. They have filed legislation to block elected officials from running for two offices at the same time.

What she's saying: "While my focus is on defeating Marsha, and returning her seat to the people, my heart is with serving Tennessee in whatever capacity I am able," Johnson said in a press release.

  • "The people of District 90, as well as the people of Tennessee, have the right to decide who represents them, and I'm committed to earning their votes in November."

The other side: Blackburn's campaign criticized Johnson's decision as a hedge.

  • "If Gloria Johnson truly believes she will win the Democratic primary and general election in November, why is she running for both seats?" Blackburn campaign manager Abigail Sigler said in an email statement.
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