With a fraction of the fanfare that accompanied her first dramatic victory, Rep. Shontel Browna Democrat from the Cleveland area, won her primary on Tuesday, virtually securing her a full term in Congress representing Northeast Ohio’s predominantly Democratic 11th Congressional District.
Brown has now defeated Ohio’s former state Sen. Nina Turner, a progressive star, for the second time. Brown had previously aired with Turner during an August special election. The two candidates competed to fill a seat vacated by former Representative Marcia Fudge, who was appointed by President Joe Biden to serve as secretary of housing and urban development.
“I don’t think anyone is surprised,” said David Cohen, a professor of political science at the University of Akron. “If a progressive candidate couldn’t win in an open-seat special election, there was no way we could take it out with a sitting member of Congress.”
There were reasons for Turner to have some hope on a second run. The neighborhood’s new boundaries include Cleveland’s progressive suburb of Lakewood. And a low turnout might have given extra weight to Turner’s base of highly motivated, left-wing voters.
But the bar is always raised for a candidate asking voters to remove a sitting official, and Brown simply didn’t do enough to disappoint voters during her first five months in office.
“She did what she had to do,” Cohen said.
As promised, Brown became a reliable voice for Biden, who? returned the favor by making Brown his second endorsement of the midterm election cycle. Brown even took advantage of the party’s progressive wing, successfully trying to access the Congressional Progressive Caucus and receiving an approval of the bloc’s political action committee.
In addition, Brown continued to enjoy the support of deeply rooted pro-Israel groups such as the Democratic Majority for Israel† She also took the big money from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and Protect our futurea super PAC funded by a cryptocurrency billionaire.
Turner, on the other hand, came to the table with fewer political resources than in her first run, when a veritable army of national progressives contributed financially or personally to her campaign. She raised a fraction of the money she had in the special election. And despite the approval of her staunch ally, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), as well as a last-minute blessing from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DN.Y.) and a six digit infusion from the left-wing Rebellion PAC it wasn’t enough to make a difference.
The one area where Brown broke with Biden, not to mention many CPC members, is US-Israel policy. She joined a small group moderate, pro-Israel Democrats who have expressed reservations about the terms of a revived nuclear deal with Iran and its implications for Israel’s security.
However, there are a limited number of Democratic voters who disqualify right-wing views on Israel. And in Ohio’s 11th, home of Ohio’s largest jewish communityBrown’s attitude was probably favourable.
“It’s where most of the Democratic Party elected members are right now,” Cohen said.