Reps. Jones, Pearson regain seats in special election

Published 5:31 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

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Tennessee State Reps. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Justin Pearson, D-Memphis, each won special elections to regain the seats in the Tennessee Legislature they were ousted from in elections that cost state taxpayers roughly $500,000.

Pearson’s special election in Memphis was estimated to cost $400,000, according to Fox 13, while Jones’ special election was expected to cost between $70,000 and $120,000, according to NewsChannel 5.

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Jones defeated Republican Laura Nelson 5,218 to 1,494 while Pearson beat Republican Jeff Johnston 2,439 to 157. Both Jones and Pearson were previously re-instated to their representative roles in an interim fashion soon after their dismissals.

“I’m ashamed that my colleagues across the aisle cost the taxpayers so much $$ on these special elections,” said Rep. Gloria Johnson, who narrowly avoided being dismissed along with Jones and Pearson. “It was a big expense as well as a travesty of justice.”

There were two other special elections, with Republican Timothy Hill winning the House District 3 spot to replace Scotty Campbell, who resigned after allegations of sexual harassment in April, and Aftyn Behn, D-Nashville, winning election over Anthony Davis to fill the late Bill Beck’s post in Tennessee House District 51 by a 5,259 to 4,579 vote.

In Nashville, Democratic council member Freddie O’Connell led the vote for mayor with 27,470 votes and will have a Sept. 14 runoff against Republican Alice Rolli, who had 20,458 votes.

State Sens. Jeff Yarbro (12,343 votes) and Heidi Campbell (8,330) joined former Nashville economic development leader Matthew Wiltshire (17,186) as the top candidates who missed the runoff.