Left-wing activist Justin Jones wants to challenge Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-05) for his seat in next year’s primary election, according to Federal Elections Commission paperwork filed Monday.
Jones has gained a prominent following after doing many protests at Tennessee’s capitol harassing politicians. As the Tennessee Star reported, Vanderbilt divinity student is charged with allegedly assaulting former Speaker of the House Glen Casada by throwing a cup of liquid at him. Currently, Jones has a temporary ban from the capitol.
In the past, the 24-year-old was arrested at a 2018 Marsha Blackburn rally for criminal trespassing and resisting arrest.
Jones has not made a public statement about running against Cooper, and has denied multiple media requests to comment on his candidacy.
However, Jones expressed his frustrations with politics in Tennessee on Twitter last month.
“Unpopular opinion: Nashville politics is a revolving door of government & appointed positions to perserve [sic] a ruling class among select families, Jones said. “It is why our mayor & congressman are literally brothers. I’m tired of seeing folks ostracized for challenging this elite liberalism.”
Unpopular opinion: Nashville politics is a revolving door of government & appointed positions to perserve a ruling class among select families.
It is why our mayor & congressman are literally brothers.
I’m tired of seeing folks ostracized for challenging this elite liberalism
— Justin Jones (@brotherjones_) October 16, 2019
When asked about Jones’ candidacy, Cooper told WPLN that he “welcomes competition.”
“I like Justin and I welcome the competition from him or anyone,” Cooper said in a statement.
Tennessee far-left groups have wanted a primary challenger against Cooper because they believe he is not progressive enough, according to the Nashville Scene. These groups wanted Cooper to support the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all, but he has been reluctant to. Also, people were concerned how Cooper initially reacted to the impeachment inquiry.
Eli Motycka, who is a progressive Nashville activist, told Nashville Scene that Cooper’s hesitancy to support the Green New Deal made him realize that progressive needed to advance a candidate who is “more liberal” than Cooper.
Jones will have a tough time defeating Cooper as he has represented Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District since 2003.
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