Shontel Brown wins Ohio Democratic primary in show of establishment strength


Shontel Brown won the Ohio Democratic primary Tuesday in the race to replace Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge in Congress, dealing a blow to progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who campaigned against her.

Brown’s opponent, former state Sen. Nina Turner (Ohio), conceded in a speech on Tuesday night and vowed to support progressives going forward. 

“Tonight, my friends, we have looked across the promised land, but for this campaign, on this night, we will not cross the river,” Turner told her supporters from the stage. 

“I am going to work hard to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen to another progressive candidate again,” she said. “We didn’t lose this race, evil money manipulated and maligned this election.”

Brown’s win over Turner represents a major victory for the Democratic Party’s establishment flank in Ohio’s deep-blue 11th Congressional District as it seeks to hold the line against progressives in Washington.  

The Cleveland-area district has become ground zero for the battle between the establishment and progressive flanks of the Democratic Party. Turner enjoyed the support of major progressive figures such as Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), both of whom traveled to Cleveland to campaign with her. 

Brown, the Democratic Party chair in Cuyahoga County, on the other hand, had the support of Sanders’s 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who campaigned with Brown in the days leading up to the campaign. 

Turner and Brown were the clear front-runners in the field of 13 candidates. Turner’s lead narrowed in the last few weeks of the campaign as Brown’s campaign and her allies spent more on advertisements. Turner’s campaign frequently knocked Brown’s campaign for its support from outside groups, including the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, run by longtime party strategist and columnist for The Hill Mark Mellman. 

Meanwhile, national progressive organizations such as Our Revolution and Democracy for America jumped into the race on Turner’s behalf. 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Hillary Clinton Marcia Fudge

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