Briahna Joy Gray, the former press secretary for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Pelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill top line higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war MORE’s (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential campaign, said voters in Ohio are “torn” over the special election to represent the state’s 11th Congressional District because of the influence from “outside corporate money” infiltrating the race.
Progressive Nine Turner, the former state senator who sprung to national prominence as a surrogate for Sanders’ presidential bids, is facing off against Shontel Brown, a local official with support from some of the party’s most known establishment figures, to fill the seat vacated by now-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeBiden administration launches new national initiative to fight homelessness Sanders goes back to 2016 playbook to sell .5T budget Activists detail legal fight against HUD for Philadelphia housing MORE.
Voters headed to the polls on Tuesday.
Gray said corporate money has influenced the “aggressive, high energy” nature of advertisements and the “back and forth” from candidates, leading the voters to be "torn."
Open Secrets reported last month that race was currently the most expensive special House election in 2021, with candidates raising more than $6 million.
“Throughout this race what we've seen is that the people on the ground are largely torn because of the kind of aggressive, high energy nature of these commercials and the back and forth between the candidates because of the influence of all of that outside corporate money,” Gray said during a Tuesday appearance on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”
She said she thinks the “real winner” in the race will be the candidate who “motivates” voters that are discouraged by the negativity on the campaign trail by focusing on their policy priorities.
“When I spoke to folks in the ground, I heard multiple times that people who maybe had reasons to like both candidates. One woman, you know, was in a prayer group with Shonte Brown’s, grandmother, but she was a Bernie supporter in the primary, said ‘you know what, I'm just gonna sit this out,’” Gray said.
“And so I think the real, the real, the winner here is going to be the person who motivates folks who are otherwise put off by some of the negativity in the race to go ahead and focus on what their policy priorities are and actually turn out today or in the earlier voter periods over the course of the past week or so,” she continued.
Watch part of Gray’s interview above.