Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper Gets Challenge from Justice Democrats-Backed Odessa Kelly


A Justice Democrats-backed candidate has stepped forward to challenge U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN-05).

Members of the Knoxville-based Justice Democrats announced in an email Monday that Nashville resident Odessa Kelly will oppose Cooper. Her platform advocates the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.

Justice Democrats on Monday unveiled a video campaign ad for Kelly on Facebook.

“Our city ain’t working for all of us. Teachers, nurses, civil servants, working moms and dads — we can’t buy a home here. My faith has taught me that our fates are tied together,” Kelly wrote in a blurb that accompanies her video.

“I’m running for Congress because we deserve a representative who fights as hard as we do.”

In her ad, Kelly accused Cooper of siding with the rich and powerful. In an emailed press release, Justice Democrats described Cooper as “a corporate Democrat” who has held office for more than three decades and is “out-of-touch” and takes hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporate PACS.

NYMag.com said Kelly, if elected, would serve as Congress’ first openly gay black woman.

“Kelly is betting that her progressive platform will have an appeal in Nashville, the district’s urban core,” according to the website.

“The city suffers from rapidly rising costs of living, and Kelly describes her home community of East Nashville as ‘a case study for gentrification in the city and across the country right now.’”

NYMag.com went on to say that Kelly “co-founded the nonprofit Stand Up Nashville, which successfully lobbied Nashville’s Major League Soccer team for a community benefits agreement attached to its new stadium.”

As The Tennessee Star reported last year, Nashville public defender Keeda Haynes — who also served time in federal prison — challenged Cooper —unsuccessfully — for his seat in Congress in 2020. Justice Democrats had approached Kelly at the time to run for Cooper’s seat, but she declined.

As reported in 2019, Justice Democrats formed in the wake of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s presidential election. Justice Democrats’ stated goal is to change the Democratic Party from within by electing more progressive candidates.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Odessa Kelly” by Odessa Kelly and “Jim Cooper” by the US House of Representatives.





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4 Thoughts to “Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper Gets Challenge from Justice Democrats-Backed Odessa Kelly”

  1. 83ragtop50

    Just when one thought that it could not get any worse than Cooper.

  2. LM

    What a weird scenario

  3. Ms Independent

    Say NO to both of these democrats! Cooper been there too long and Odessa has a far left liberal agenda!!

  4. mikey whipwreck

    yeah, let’s go from bad to worse.