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Pro Worker Candidates Win on the Ballot in 2023

December 2, 2023

SEIU endorsed candidates win in Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville and the State House

In 2023 we had important mayoral and city council races across Tennessee plus 3 special elections for the State House of Representatives. In Nashville we teamed up with the Nashville Justice League to support Metro Council candidates who stand up for workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and civil rights. The Local ran field and digital campaigns all summer leading up to the general election in August, then the runoff in September. Our efforts through door to door canvassing, phone and text banking, direct mail, and targeted digital ads showed that when we organize and vote together, we win. 23 of our 28 endorsed council candidates won, and Freddie O’Connell, who we endorsed for mayor, won. What the results really tell us is that Nashvillians want elected officials who will work to make Nashville better for us – not the lobbyists, corporations or billionaires.

We endorsed 3 candidates in Memphis. Our mayoral candidate came up 5,000 votes short in a winner-takes-all race with 17 contenders. Long time community advocate Jerri Green won in Council District 2, and community organizer Michalyn Easter-Thomas won re-election to Council District 7. The Nashville Metro Council and Memphis City Council are now both majority-female for the first time in their histories.

We endorsed and supported the re-election campaign of Amelia Parker for an at-large seat on Knoxville City Council. She won her election in November.

There were 3 special elections for the state house. In April, Representatives Justin Jones (TN-52, Nashville) and Justin Pearson (TN-86, Memphis) were expelled from the House for showing solidarity with protesters demanding common sense gun laws. Not long after, the unexpected death of Representative Bill Beck (TN-51, Nashville) left another seat open. We endorsed Jones and Pearson in their campaigns to win back their rightful seats. And we endorsed Aftyn Behn, a Tennessean and proven community organizer. All 3 won their races. Behn is the youngest Representative and only female to represent the Nashville area in the House. These 3 victories send a strong message that we want state reps who are not afraid to challenge the Tennessee super-majority and won’t back down from a fight.

A full list of our endorsed candidates who won their election in 2023 is as follows:

SEIU Local 205 political work is supported and paid for by the Tennessee State Council - SEIU for state races and the Committee on Political Education (COPE Acct) for local races and not approved by any candidate.