Gayle Jordan, a Democrat running for state senate in Trump country, will soon find out if an openly atheist candidate can win public office in Tennessee.
Jordan does not believe in God. It is a fact she shares, but not a focus of her campaign for the vacant District 14 seat that will be decided Tuesday in a special election.
“It’s incidental to who I am,” Jordan said.
But Shane Reeves, her Republican opponent, and state GOP leaders have made her lack of religious belief an issue in the Middle Tennessee race, which could have greater implications for how the November midterm elections unfold.
“I just feel like her views are radical,” said Reeves, a Murfreesboro businessman and Christian. “They’re out of touch with the district.”
Campaign mailers, online ads and social media posts have targeted Jordan for her atheism and pointed out that she is the executive director of Recovering from Religion, a nonprofit that supports those doubting their religious beliefs.
Scott Golden, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, issued a statement calling her views “extreme” and said Jordan works to “lead people away from their faith.” Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, posted on Facebook and Twitter that he has “seen few candidates as dangerous” as her.
Jordan, an attorney who lives on a Rutherford County farm, said she is not on a mission to end religion, but does think people should be able to have healthy discussions about it when they have questions.
Read the full story at The Tennessean