Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Johnson, of the Tennessee Three, Running for the U.S. Senate

State Rep. Gloria Johnson (D) is the one member of the "Tennessee Three" who was not expelled from the Tennessee state House, and so did not have to go through the silly ritual of being re-appointed to her seat, and then re-elected in a special election. She is also the only one of the three who is white. These two facts may be related.

In any case, Johnson is now one of the most famous state assembly members in the state, and in the country, probably only trailing Mallory McMorrow in Michigan. In politics, you strike while the iron is hot (or while the fish is cold, in Ron DeSantis' case), and so Johnson has decided to go for a big promotion. Yesterday, as she had hinted she would do, she declared a bid for the U.S. Senate, gunning for the seat that Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is planning to defend next year.

Undoubtedly, Johnson has a theory of how she could win this thing. Presumably, she is relying on a backlash against Republican overreach and anti-democratic behavior, which she can certainly attest to personally. And Blackburn is not a terribly popular senator; her approval lags about 10 points behind where "generic Republican" would rank, if "generic Republican" was representing the state in the U.S. Senate.

But that is about all we can come up with, and there is no question Johnson faces long odds. To start, more Tennesseans want abortion illegal than want it legal (55% to 40%), so Johnson isn't going to be able to use the Democratic issue du jour to her advantage. The last time Tennessee elected a freshman Democratic U.S. Senator to Washington was back in 1984—a fellow named Albert "Al" Gore. The state did elect one Democratic governor this century, but that was Phil Bredesen, who ran for the U.S. Senate after reaching his term limits, and then... got crushed by Blackburn.

It's a jump of several rungs on the ladder, from state representative to U.S. Senator, so probably worth a longshot gamble. But "longshot" is definitely the operative word here. (Z)

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