House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) threw his support behind Shontel Brown in the race to replace Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeEthics watchdog accuses Psaki of violating Hatch Act New HUD rule aimed at preventing evictions from public housing Briahna Joy Gray: 'Strong likelihood' Turner will run for the House in 2022 MORE in Ohio's 11th District, deepening the division between progressives and moderates in the race.
The 13-candidate primary has divided national progressives and centrists against each other. Frontrunner Nina Turner, who previously served as the co-chair of Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPressure grows for breakthrough in Biden agenda talks Sanders, Manchin escalate fight over .5T spending bill Sanders blames media for Americans not knowing details of Biden spending plan MORE's (I-Vt.) 2020 presidential bid, has the backing of the progressive wing of the party, while Brown, a Cuyahoga County representative, has the support of Democratic establishment figures like Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits Biden sends 'best wishes' to Clinton following hospitalization The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Altria - Jan. 6 panel flexes its muscle MORE.
Clyburn told The New York Times that his decision to endorse Brown did not have anything to do with Sanders or Turner, but warned of the effect that progressive slogans like "defund the police" and "Medicare for All" could have on the party as a whole.
“What I try to do is demonstrate by precept and example how we are to proceed as a party,” Clyburn told the publication. “When I spoke out against sloganeering, like ‘Burn, baby, burn’ in the 1960s and ‘defund the police,’ which I think is cutting the throats of the party, I know exactly where my constituents are. They are against that, and I’m against that.”
Shortly after Clyburn's endorsement of Brown came out, Turner tweeted, "Ohio voters know the politics of yesterday are incapable of delivering the change we desperately need."
Turner is leading the race with 50 percent support, according to a Tulchin Research poll released earlier this month. Brown trailed at 15 percent support.
The primary is slated to take place on Aug. 3 and whoever wins the contest will likely take the seat in November's general election. Fudge won over 80 percent of the vote in her reelection bid in 2020.