Ohio-11 Democratic primary pits progressive favorite Nina Turner against establishment pick Shontel Brown

Cleveland, Ohio – The polls open Tuesday in one of the most anticipated elections this year, pitting one of the country's most prominent progressive politicians against a big-money, establishment favorite.

Former state senator Nina Turner served as the national co-chair for the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.
Former state senator Nina Turner served as the national co-chair for the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The Democratic primary for the OH-11 special election is set to take place on August 3. The House seat was left open after Biden nominated Marcia Fudge to serve as his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

The two top Democratic contenders in the solidly blue district are very different candidates.

Nina Turner, a former state senator, has generated huge national appeal as 2016 national surrogate and 2020 national co-chair of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaigns.

She is running a similar grassroots, small-donor funded push to take office. Her platform echoes Sanders' demand for Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and affordable housing and education, among other progressive policies.

Turner has received endorsements from big names like Bernie Sanders, AOC, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus as well as a host of progressive organizations.

Turner is taking on establishment pick Shontel Brown

Shontel Brown (r.) poses with Joe Biden during his second trip to Ohio as president.
Shontel Brown (r.) poses with Joe Biden during his second trip to Ohio as president.  © Screenshot/Instagram/shontelbrown

Turner is up against Shontel Brown, the Cuyahoga County Democratic Chair who has gotten endorsements from Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus, and other establishment leaders.

According to the Intercept, finance reports show that Brown has received a number of big-money donations from groups that typically fund GOP candidates, either directly or through the PAC/super PAC Democratic Majority for Israel.

Brown is also facing a possible ethics probe over contracts she awarded to her partner and campaign donors.

When it comes to policy, Brown differs from her progressive rival considerably. She supports a public option rather than Medicare for All, and the donations she has received from dark money groups with pro-Israel and fossil fuel interests give a pretty good idea how she will act in areas of foreign policy and climate action.

While Brown posits herself as a firm supporter of the Biden administration and incremental policy changes, Turner has been known to criticize the president for not pursuing the transformational changes necessary to improve everyday Americans' material conditions.

Turner and Brown are competing within a pool of 13 Democrats. Two Republicans have also thrown their hat into the ring for their own primary, but they are unlikely to win in the general election on November 2.

With the approaching showdown between the Hillary-backed Shontel Brown and Bernie-backed Nina Turner, the OH-11 Democratic primary appears to be a microcosm of competing forces within the Democratic Party as a whole.

Americans around the country can't wait to see who will come out on top.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

More on the topic US politics: