Shontel Brown, an ally of the Biden administration and Speaker Nancy Pelosi in Ohio’s 11th District, on Tuesday, defeated Nina Turner, a co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign who ran on the message that Democrats should not seek compromise on legislation with the GOP.
With 96.5% of the precincts reporting, Brown led Turner by 4,380 out of more than 71,000 votes cast, and Turner conceded a little after 10 PM.
The left and right wings of the Democratic party fought over the blue-collar 11th District which includes Cleveland and Akron as well as several majority-black precincts, recognizing that it would predict the direction and fate of the DNC in the 2022 midterm elections. For now, it appears that the hard-left camp in the party has failed in its efforts to dominate the traditional, pro-labor voters, and the moderate mainstream has prevailed.
Turner enlisted hundreds of volunteers from left-wing groups and outspent her opponent, which put her in the lead early on in the race. But when the party leadership took notice of the race and its implications, financial support and endorsements poured in, most notably from Jewish Democrats—Pro-Israel America PAC, and the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC (who contributed $2 million) resulting in Brown thanking “my Jewish brothers and sisters” in her victory speech. She also received the endorsements of Hillary Clinton, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the Congressional Black Caucus, and major unions.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Squad threw their weight behind Turner, and Sen. Sanders was the keynote speaker in Turner’s get-out-the-vote rally in Cleveland.
Turner was anything but gracious in her concession speech, when she told her supporters: “I am going to work hard to ensure that something like this never happens to a progressive candidate again,” adding, “We didn’t lose this race. Evil money manipulated and maligned this election.”
The NY Times suggested the race did not necessarily reflect a progressive vs. moderate power struggle Democrats, but rather a clash between “an insider who rose fast in local party circles and an agitator who thrived on alienating party leaders by questioning their commitment to liberal ideals.” Be it as it may, Brown is expected to defeat her Republican opponent by a wide margin, and should the Democrats be able to use this primary victory in support of more moderate candidates countrywide, they stand a chance of holding on to their majority in the House.