Thursday, May 30, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: Fmr. MAGA Wunderkind CJ Pearson Ready to Lead New Generation of GOP

'I think we've got to remind the black community that they are conservative....'

(Gwendolyn Sims, Headline USA) Conservative influencer CJ Pearson has spent the past 13 years prepping for a political career—and at 21, he still has a bright future ahead.

Pearson launched his first campaign last week, to fill the vacant Georgia General Assembly seat of state Rep. Barry Fleming, who was recently appointed by Gov. Brian Kemp to serve as a superior court judge.

“I just qualified for the special election to be Georgia’s next State Representative,” Pearson tweeted on Jan. 9. The announcement included a smiling photo of him filling out his Declaration of Candidacy & Affidavit paperwork—which he filed later that day—for Georgia’s District 125, just west of Augusta.

Early voting begins Jan. 22 for the Feb. 13 special election, with five candidates having qualified, including two other Republicans.

“It’s going to be a sprint,” Pearson wrote in a follow-up tweet, noting the short time frame for organizing while touting his grassroots support throughout the district—and at the state and national level.

The winner of the special election will have little time to rest, as the seat will come up again in the Nov. 5 general election.

In an exclusive phone interview with Headline USA, Pearson said he believes Georgia will be “Ground Zero” for the upcoming presidential election, so he’s eager “to bridge the gap between conservatives and America’s young people.”

That’s a role he knows well as the “leading voice among right-leaning youth in America.”

Pearson first became interested in politics at the age of 8 and burst onto the national scene at 13 years old when his YouTube video criticizing then-President Barack Obama went viral.

Unlike most young people testing their beliefs, his own exploration of his political values famously played out on a national stage, with leftist media smugly rejoicing after he briefly renounced conservatism and joined the Bernie Sanders campaign during the the 2016 campaign, saying he was tired of being pigeon-holed in a particular role.

“I don’t want to be the conservative wonder kid,” he told CNN.

But he soon found his kindred spirit in a new Republican champion who was equally ready to break the mold.

At 14, he became the national chairman of Teens for Trump, writing in an op-ed for Time magazine, “The independent streaks ingrained into the hearts and souls of America’s youth are the cornerstone of the billionaire’s youth appeal.”

Most recently, Pearson has worked at PragerU, where his work inclides PragerU’s 5-Minute Videos, The Wrap Up, Left vs. Right and “online content that reaches millions of young Americans,” he said.

Pearson plays a critical role not only due to his age, but also his racial identity, as one in a growing number of black conservatives who have rejected the longstanding preconception that African–Americans are obligated to vote lockstep with the Left.

He dismissed the notion that the GOP needed to modify its own platform to reach more minorities, suggesting that through outreach, messaging and more diverse representation within the party, black voters would begin identifying—and voting—as Republicans.

“The black community at its core is a conservative community,” Pearson told Headline USA. “I don’t think we have to capitulate, pander or dilute what we believe to get black voters and black conservative support.”

Republicans have to articulate that “there’s an alternative to what” black America has “been led to believe is the singular alternative,” Pearson said.

“I think we should try to go places we don’t typically go and talk to people about what we believe and why we believe it,” he continued. “But never do I think we should pander,” as the Left does.

Republicans often say, “We’ve got to turn black people into conservatives,” Pearson observed.

“I actually don’t agree with that,” he added. “I think we’ve got to remind the black community that they are conservative.”

Raised by grandparents whose political views were very different than his own, they nonetheless instilled in Pearson the conservative “values of loving God, loving America, knowing the value of a dollar, and appreciating the essence of hard work.”

Right now, Pearson’s America First campaign is focused on going across the district and talking to voters about their priorities. As he sees it, voters want someone to hold the George Soros-backed district attorneys “accountable for their choices to put politics over the rule of law.”

His run couldn’t come at a better time, with race-baiting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis facing a major ethics scandal that the state legislature may be called upon to address ahead of her lawfare prosecution against former President Donald Trump and 14 co-defendants on racketeering charges.

Just 10 days after the special election, Pearson is scheduled to join Trump, former HUD Secretary Ben Carson and renowned vocalist Mary Millben at a black-tie dinner in Columbia, S.C., sponsonred by the Black Conservative Federation, where he’ll be receiving the BCF’s Champion Award.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by CJ Pearson (@thecjpearson)

An earlier photograph on Pearson’s Instagram account, captioned, “Always great to catch up with @realdonaldtrump,” shows him giving a thumbs up with Trump at a Columbus, Ga., event last summer.

In terms of his policies and campaign rhetoric, Pearson likewise seems closely aligned with the the GOP presidential frontrunner, framing his local run as a fight against the encroachment of aggressive overreach from both government and woke cultural institutions.

Voters want “bold and decisive action” to put “more money into the pockets and wallets of hardworking Georgians,” he said.

They also want “to keep all this wokeism out of our schools across the state” by banning Critical Race Theory, which Pearson said is “nothing more than taxpayer-funded racism.”

And theywant “to ensure that women’s sports are women’s sports” by allowing that “only biological women get to participate in them,” he added.

“The time for niceties is over,” Pearson said. “I’m not running to be just another Republican that’s going just to go along to get along. I’m going to be a fighter. I think the people of this district want a fighter.”

Follow Gwendolyn Sims at twitter.com/gwendolynmsims.

Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.

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