MEMPHIS, T.N. (April 12, 2023) — A new poll released by Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) found Tennessee voters strongly support the reinstatement of recently ousted Representative Justin Pearson to the state legislature.
The poll found 71% of registered voters in Shelby County support reinstating Rep. Pearson to serve his Shelby County—a 46-percentage point margin.This includes a quarter of Trump voters.
Rep. Pearson was expelled last week from the State House of Representatives for participating in a gun control protest in the state capitol, a choice deemed “disorderly” by Republicans, who then voted Rep. Pearson out of office in a party line vote. His colleague, Rep. Justin Jones, who was also expelled, was reinstated to his seat on Monday by the Nashville Metropolitan Council.
“The decision to expel Rep. Pearson from his rightful place in the Tennessee legislature was an intentionally racist choice made by Republicans looking to further their harmful political agenda,” said Mike Bland, Vice President of Leaders of Color. “Rep. Pearson was chosen by the people of the 86th District of Tennessee to act as their voice in the Capitol, and by removing him from office, the Tennessee GOP has not only silenced a young Black leader full of promise, but has taken the voices from each of his constituents, too.”
While the GOP’s initial decision will continue to live on the wrong side of history, there is a chance to correct their egregious misstep by voting to put Rep. Pearson back where he belongs: in the state Capitol,” added Bland.
“This abuse of power by Tennessee Republicans—exhibited in such undemocratic ways—should be of deep concern to all Americans,” said DFER CEO Jorge Elorza. “Today, we stand with Justin in calling on the Shelby County Board of Commissioners to honor the resounding wishes of voters; tomorrow, we continue the urgent fight elect leaders, like Pearson and Jones, who will bravely and boldly represent their communities and uphold the values of our Democracy.”
You can view the full poll here.
Public Policy Polling interviewed 854 registered voters in Shelby County, Tennessee, on April 11, 2023. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.4%. 42% of the interviews were conducted via telephone and 58% were conducted via text message.