Tennessee Stands leader and Franklin resident Gary Humble has pulled a petition to challenge Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) in the District 27 Republican primary.
Per documents from the Williamson County Election Commission shared by the Tennessee Star, Humble's name is listed as having pulled a petition for Johnson's seat this past Tuesday. He also registered his candidacy with state campaign finance regulators.
The Republican primary is slated for Aug. 4.
Humble was vocal during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in protesting COVID regulations. His group has also been active in various school board controversies that have dominated the headlines in recent months.
Humble's conservative organization sued Republican Gov. Bill Lee and has been highly critical of his leadership, particularly through the pandemic.
“It doesn’t matter if it kills millions of people, and I say that with a straight face," Humble told the Home Page in 2020. “That’s on me, that’s our personal responsibility, that’s the type of government that we have. It’s up to us, it’s up to the states and it’s up to us as people, it’s not up to the federal government to determine what to do in this case.
“I completely acknowledge that it [COVID-19] exists — I’m not a COVID-denier. People have died from this disease, that is tragic, loss of life is tragic, but I’m not being callous when I say this — people die,” Humble continued.
“I’m confident in the fact that I’m not willing to give up my liberty because you think you need to keep me safe, period...I don’t care what the consequences are of that, I really don’t. If you don’t have the right to do it then by God don’t do it. It’s that simple.”
Johnson has represented District 23 in Williamson County since 2007 when he took over for Jim Bryson. (Redistricting resulted in the renumbering of the Franklin-area Senate district.) He was appointed the Tennessee Senate Republican Leader in 2019 in place of former Sen. Mark Norris, now a Donald Trump-appointed federal judge.