Clyburn endorses rival to Nina Turner in Ohio special election

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C,)
Greg Nash

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 Fudge 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 Sanders’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 Clinton. 

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. 

Tags Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton Marcia Fudge
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