Backed By Big Corporate Money And Democrat Establishment, Shontel Brown Wins Ohio Congressional Seat

Backed By Big Corporate Money And Democrat Establishment, Shontel Brown Wins Ohio Congressional Seat

shontel brown

Backed By Big Corporate Money And Democrat Establishment, Shontel Brown Wins Ohio Congressional Seat. Photo: Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner leaves the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland after voting, Oct. 7, 2014, file photo (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

Shontel Brown’s win in the Ohio special election primary represents a victory for the Democratic establishment in its bid for the congressional seat left vacant by Marcia Fudge, who resigned to join President Joe Biden’s administration.

Progressive Democrat Nina Turner lost the race against Brown, who received backing from not only the Democratic Party establishment and big businesses but also GOP supporters.

Many see Brown’s victory as a major blow to the Democratic Party’s progressive wing.

Former Ohio State Sen. Turner, who was also a chief surrogate for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential bids, lost to Cuyahoga County Council member Brown in a special primary on Aug. 3, 2021.

Turner trailed Brown 44 percent to 51 percent when the Associated Press called the race, Politico reported.

Brown is a protege of Fudge, who vacated the seat to serve as Biden’s housing secretary. Brown was endorsed by establishment Democrats such as Hillary Clinton and the leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio).

Turner blamed super political action committees (PACs) that opposed her for her loss and vowed to fight for better infrastructure and campaign-finance reform to aid like-minded candidates.

“I am going to work hard to ensure that something like this never happens to a progressive candidate again,” she said. “We didn’t lose this race — the evil money manipulated and maligned this election.”

Turner received endorsements from Sanders, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and the Justice Democrats, a leading progressive group.

Progressive podcast Secular Talk host Kyle Kulinski tweeted, “Nina lost for a very simple reason. In the closing stretch THIS happened: ‘Democratic Majority for Israel, a hybrid PAC/super PAC that has spent $1.2 million on ads supporting Brown and opposing Turner’ – & the ads viciously lied about her. The lies stuck”.

He added, “I don’t think people really grasp how astronomical the cash infusion was in the final month”


During a 2020 interview with The Atlantic, Turner, then co-chairwoman of Sen. Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, was outspoken about the prospect of voting for Biden

“It’s like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit 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 Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. “It’s still sh*t.” 

Brian Chovanec @Brian_Chovanec predicted that remark would hurt Turner in the Ohio special election. He tweeted, “The outgoing representative endorsed her. -And her opponent (I assume the candidate you support) compared voting for Biden to eating a bowl of shit. Don’t overthink this. When Brown wins tonight, the reason will be the above 2 things, not who spent how much $ from whom/where.”

Big business also backed Brown, and some are questioning at least one corner supporter.

In 2014, when Brown was running for her seat on Cuyahoga County Council, she promised to recuse herself from county contracts with ties involving Mark Perkins, her partner. Perkins had longstanding business ties to the Cleveland-based general contractor Perk. But on Feb. 28, 2017, Brown voted to give a nearly $7 million contract to Perk. Weeks later, one of the firm’s owners helped organize a fundraiser for Brown’s reelection campaign. Brown went on to vote on three other occasions to approve Cuyahoga city contracts for Perk, totaling an additional $10 million between 2015 and 2019, The Intercept reported. Then in her bid for Congress, business associates of Perk donated to her most recent campaign.

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Brown’s campaign was also “heavily funded by donors who usually support Republicans,” The Intercept reported. Donors with long histories of support for Republican candidates funded Brown’s campaign directly or via the political action committee Democratic Majority for Israel, a major backer of her campaign.

Among them was Donald Trump ally Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots. Kraft donated the election maximum of $5,800 to Brown’s campaign and his family contributed more than $20,000.

Also, the former chair of the Cuyahoga County Republican Party, Roger Synenberg, donated $1,000 to Brown’s campaign. Steven Fishman, a long-time donor to Republican candidates, donated $1,800. Republican donor David Heller, a Cleveland-area real estate executive, donated $2,800 to Brown. 

State Rep. Juanita Brent, a Turner backer who represents Cuyahoga County in the Ohio House, panned the role of the GOP in the Democratic primary campaign. “As a Democrat who has helped Democrats all over the state, we cannot condone Democrats that are accepting money associated with Trump,” Brent told The Intercept. “How can we have someone who is the party chair and says that she’s a Democrat’s Democrat but is accepting Republican money?”