“Hello Somebody!”: Nina Turner Rematches Shontel Brown for OH-11

Nina Turner, a former Ohio State Senator, announced last month that she will challenge incumbent Rep. Shontel Brown to a rematch in the Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District.  

Brown emerged victorious over Turner in the special election to fill the vacant seat of former Rep. Marcia Fudge, the current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Biden.  

A long-time liberal activist, Turner hopes to differentiate herself from Brown, who Turner claims has not advocated effectively for constituents. 

 “The environment by which change needs to happen has not really percolated at this moment,” Turner told NBC about her decision to run again. “I think that it’s one thing for somebody to go and to vote the right way. But Greater Cleveland needs a fighter, and that’s what I am.” 

Photo courtesy of Nina Turner

Meanwhile, Brown hopes to run on her legislative accomplishments, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  

“I was proud to support the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act less than 48 hours after being sworn into Congress,” Brown wrote in a Cleveland.com op-ed. “Days later, President Joe Biden signed the bill into law, delivering the largest investment in infrastructure in generations.” 

Some Baldwin Wallace students consider the infrastructure bill to be a significant accomplishment. Junior Abby Rudolph spoke positively about the bill and what it will do for Ohioans.  

“I was pleased to hear that Congresswoman Brown supported the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law…” Rudolph said. “[It] will aid in the clean-up of the Great Lakes Region, which is fantastic news for the Cleveland area.” 

In addition to boasting her voting record while in office, Brown has received the endorsements of several key Democratic leaders. One of those endorsements came just last week by another fresh face in town, Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb. Bibb’s endorsement of Brown came just months after Turner had endorsed Bibb in his mayoral race, and it has been interpreted as a sign of allegiance to the party’s moderate wing.  

Camille Ross, a Baldwin Wallace alumni, was disappointed in Bibb’s chosen candidate. 

 “I canvassed and volunteered for Senator Turner’s campaign the first time around,” Ross said. “And I am disappointed Mayor Bibb endorsed Shontel Brown for 2022.” 

Both candidates have extensive plans to address gun violence, racial injustice, poverty, environmental justice, and the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, issues of great concern to the residents of the 11th District. 

Turner was endorsed by politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez (D-NY) and aligned herself with the more left-leaning wing of the Democratic party.  Turner has advocated for policies like Medicare For All, a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour, and free public college. 

Brown, a moderate Democrat, advocated for policies like a public option for healthcare, free public college for families making under $125,000, and partial student loan debt cancellation. Brown also secured the endorsements of high-profile Democrats like Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as the Congressional Black Caucus. 

Brown also received $203,000 from the Democratic Majority For Israel PAC, which also spent $738,000 against Nina Turner. In her concession speech in August, Turner blamed super PACs fueled by dark money for her loss.  

We didn’t lose this race…” she said, “…the evil money manipulated and maligned this election.” 

Kayne Spieker, a senior at Baldwin Wallace, is supporting Turner in the race. 

 “I think Nina Turner will be better for college students,” Spieker said. “I believe Turner will benefit college students and education in our district. Nina Turner supports free public college and canceling student debt, and this just doesn’t seem to be a priority for Shontel Brown.” 

The Democratic primary between Brown and Turner is set for May. The winner of the rematch will proceed to the general election in Nov. and will have a significant advantage over the Republican nominee, as Ohio District 11 is a Democratic stronghold.