Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson Raises Nearly $900,000 After Being Expelled From House Floor

Tennessee Rep. Justin Pearson Raises Nearly $900,000 After Being Expelled From House Floor

According to the Associated Press, Black Tennessee Representative Justin Pearson has raised nearly $900,000 from 31,700 campaign donations after his state Republican lawmakers expelled him and several other democrats from the House floor for a gun control protest. The June 30 release relayed that his progressive campaign utilized the spotlight placed on him by the Republicans to help raise money for his causes. 

Pearson and other Black lawmakers were expelled from the House floor for protesting for the Republican party to vote to pass gun control measures and safety prevention methods after the horrific mass shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. Although they were reinstated a few days after the outlet reported that, likely, the only reason that Pearson was able to accept donations was that they were kicked from the legislative session; otherwise, he and the other Democrats would have been banned from raising money. During the week following Pearson’s removal, he and his political action committee had raised $814,000 before he was reinstated. 

Pearson said, “To see so much support, particularly from these tens of thousands of small-dollar donations, is a testament to what I believe is a people-powered movement, which is that we all have something to contribute, and our little bits of contribution makes a lot.” He continued to explain that with the Democrats being in the super minority in the legislative chambers, the donation money could help them even the margins. 

Middle Tennessee State University’s political science professor, Kent Syler, suggested that Pearson’s fundraiser could help gain a few seats on the floor for the party. 

“That amount of money is a testament to, really, how badly this issue went for House Republicans. It gave Democrats an incredible platform in Tennessee that they haven’t had in a couple of decades.

Connecticut’s Democratic senator, Chris Murphy, and his team were credited with raising more than $600,000 between the two expelled representatives in April.

Aside from Murphy, Pearson’s spokesperson majorly came between April 6 and April 12 while he was out of office.  According to his special elections campaign finance reports, the rest of the money, just about $100,000, was raised before June 5.