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Former State Senator Nina Turner jumps into the 11th District race for Congress

Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner
Posted at 4:54 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 19:20:01-05

CLEVELAND — Former State Senator Nina Turner making it official Tuesday that she will be throwing her hat into the ring in the race to fill the soon-to-be-vacated seat of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who was nominated to be the Biden Administration's Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

"I'm running for Congress to bring a progressive voice to the people of the 11th Congressional District," Turner said. "I feel deeply about this community, it is my community I was born and raised in this community and I've served all of my adult life in this community."

That service includes time as a Cleveland city councilperson and state senator. Turner was considered a primary challenge of Fudge in 2012 and has at times been at odds with her, so will that have an impact on this race?

"Many people have strong relationships and not so strong relationships. I will say with Congresswoman Fudge that over the years we have certainly not only worked together, we've had regular meetings. We served on the Unity Reform Commission together. So those are the things I want to focus on, but the beautiful thing about this race is that there will be a primary and so the Congresswoman certainly has the right to make known who she would like to see in that seat. However, the people of the district will have the final say."

Among those who have told News 5 they are running for the seat are Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown, former Cleveland Councilman Jeff Johnson and former State Rep. John Barnes, with many others considering a run. Rep. Fudge will hold the seat until she receives Senate confirmation, at which time Ohio Governor Mike DeWine would call for a special primary and then a special election.

Because of Turner's role with the Sanders campaign, she says she has a national following that she believes she can use for the benefit of the district.

"What I have been able to do on the national level will have an impact on how I am able to leverage for this community, but there is absolutely no doubt, John — a lot of excitement out there all across this country," she said in the interview with News 5's John Kosich.

That excitement will no doubt put a national spotlight on the race.

"Unless something else happens across the country after the January 5 runoff in Georgia, this will be the hottest ticket in the nation, so all eyes will be on the 11th Congressional district, and I am here for it," Turner said.