For the second time in as many years, voters in Ohio’s working-class, mostly Black 11th Congressional district chose Shontel Brown over Nina Turner to represent them in Congress. The difference this time is that Brown went into Tuesday night’s primary as the incumbent and emerges likely to hold onto her seat from the overwhelmingly Democratic district after November’s general election.
In 2021, the same candidates squared off in a bitter primary to succeed former Rep. Marcia Fudge, who joined the Biden Cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Turner, a former state representative from Cleveland who supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, ran as a progressive who argued that Biden hadn’t done enough to deliver for Black people. Brown, who chaired the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, ran a more centrist campaign and enjoyed the support of the Congressional Black Caucus and others inside the party.
Brown won the seat last year in a special election to replace longtime Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who left the job to become President Joe Biden’s Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The Fudge protégé won 50.2 percent of the vote during their last matchup, while Turner captured 44.5 percent.
Turner challenged Brown again, hoping for a different result in the remapped district, which dropped parts of Summit County it once included and added parts of Cuyahoga County that weren’t in the old district, such as Lakewood and sections of the Hillcrest area. Turner said roughly 30 percent of the district’s turf is new, and those voters deserved an opportunity to weigh in on who their congressional representative should be.
Brown won the first contest by about 4,000 votes. This time around, Brown won by an overwhelming margin; the Associated Press called the race for Brown by 27 percentage points on Tuesday evening.
Brown now moves into the general election against Republican Eric Brewer, the former mayor of East Cleveland. He’ll be a long shot to unseat a Democrat incumbent in a district shaded overwhelmingly blue.