Newswire sits down with Turner

By Ethan Nichols, staff writer

Former state senator Nina Turner has announced her candidacy for Congress, setting up a contentious primary battle with Rep. Shontel Brown, D-Ohio. In an interview with Newswire, Turner discussed her current campaign for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District and the special primary election she lost in August.

Turner is best known for being co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign and her criticism of “establishment” Democrats. 

“(I’m a) hell-raising humanitarian,” Turner said. She emphasized her support for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, expanding the Child Tax Credit and lowering prescription drug prices.

“These are unprecedented times,” Turner said in a video announcing her campaign. “Our leaders can’t settle for just enough… We deserve a voice for change in Washington.”

Turner stressed that she was seeking election in a “new district, (with) new voters and a new time.” 

The seat — vacated when now-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge resigned to accept her current role in the Biden Administration — currently includes parts of Cuyahoga and Summit Counties and stretches from Cleveland to Akron.

“There will be a lot of people in this district who did not have a chance to weigh in during a special election. This is a new time,” she said.

August’s special election primary became a battleground between the Democratic Party’s progressive and establishment wings. 

Turner was endorsed by Sanders as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; and the Working Families Party.

Brown, on the other hand, was backed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.; and Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio.

In the special election, over 8,000 Republicans voted for Brown in the Democratic primary, and Brown won by just over 4,000 votes. 

“We have to question why Republicans would cross over in that special election and obviously side with my number one competition,” Turner said.

During and after her 2020 campaign, Turner came under fire for making controversial remarks.

A comment made by Turner in 2020 resurfaced during the 2020 race in which she compared voting for President Biden to “eating a bowl of sh*t.” 

“It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of sh*t in front of you, and all you’ve got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing,’” Turner said of the choice between voting for Biden and former president Donald Trump. “It’s still sh*t.”

The comment was criticized by supporters of the president.

Supporters of Turner claimed she was expressing disappointment in Biden’s presidency and his dismissal of common progressive priorities. 

Brown has also been criticized for controversial statements.

In a forum hosted by the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats last year, Brown referred to being gay as a “lifestyle” and misgendered a transgender person multiple times.

The comments led the Stonewall Democrats, a pro-LGBT+ caucus, to endorse Turner in the primary. 

Turner maintains that she is “boldly standing up for what is right.”

“People are very much aware that their needs are not being met or being addressed and that they are being left behind.”