Worrying Sign for Progressives as Candidate Upset By Centrist Dem in Special Ohio Primary

Far-left Democrats were defeated by centrists in a much-anticipated special U.S. House primary election on Tuesday that was widely seen as a referendum on the future direction of the Democratic Party, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.

In the Cleveland-area primary, Cuyahoga County Council member Shontel Brown pulled out a surprise 50% to 45% victory for the Democrat establishment over progressive Nina Turner, a co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, Axios reported.

To illustrate the stakes in the election as the midterms approach, Turner was backed by leading progressives Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, and her fellow members of the “Squad,” while Sanders headlined a get-out-the-vote rally in Cleveland for Turner over the weekend, the Post reported.

During the campaign, Ocasio-Cortez stressed that “I need her alongside me in Congress in the fight for racial, economic, social, and environmental justice.”

Brown was backed by major unions, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., and the political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“Once again, the pundits and the Twitterverse got it wrong, and Democratic voters picked the moderate, Shontel Brown, over the candidate ordained by the far left,” said Matt Bennett, executive vice president of the centrist Third Way in a statement.

“The conventional wisdom has held that the Democratic nomination in this special election would go to the loudest and most radical of the candidates. But as we’ve seen in so many recent primaries, Democratic voters in OH-11 had other ideas. They have chosen Shontel Brown, a committed Biden Democrat, to represent them in Washington,” the statement said, adding that “it’s time that the political classes got the message: Democratic voters want bold, principled, pragmatic leaders who can beat Trump Republicans and work with the Biden team to deliver big things for America.”

Brown, who was far behind Turner in polls and money, tied her fate to President Joe Biden, including in her most successful ads, Axios reported.

Brown also received crucial backing from two Democrat pro-Israel organizations: the Pro-Israel America PAC and the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, according to the Post.

Turner vowed in her concession speech that “I am going to work hard to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen to another progressive candidate again. We didn’t lose this race, evil money manipulated and maligned this election.”

In her victory remarks, Brown thanked “my Jewish brothers and sisters” for their support and insisted that “I want to roll up my sleeves and get to work to make sure we are delivering results for the people, relief for the people who need it the most.”

The special election was held to fill the remainder of the term of Marcia Fudge, who left office after accepting the position of U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Biden administration.

Brown is expected to easily defeat her Republican opponent in the heavily blue district.

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