Ohio Democrat dodges primary challenge

An Ohio state lawmaker who had planned a primary challenge of Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio) dropped out of the primary Friday, but that won’t necessarily give Fudge an undisputed path to reelection.

Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner (D-Cleveland), who was expected to pose a serious challenge to Fudge in the majority-minority district the congresswoman has represented since 2008, said in a statement to The Plain Dealer that the new congressional map adopted by state lawmakers guarantees reelection for incumbents.

But without flatly ruling out a congressional bid, Turner said she would not run as a Democrat in the 11th Congressional District.

Ohio Democrats immediately speculated that Turner might choose to run as an independent instead, sparing her a primary in which national Democrats could help Fudge stomp out any competition, and allowing her to capitalize on her solid name recognition in a general election matchup against Fudge. Any candidate seeking to run as an independent must file as such by March 5.

Turner did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.