Former Ohio state Sen Nina Turner was defeated in the House primary for Ohio’s 11th House district by Shontel Brown after a contest that devolved into a proxy fight between the establishment and left wings of the Democratic Party.
The outcome was a painful defeat for the faction of the party aligned with Sen Bernie Sanders, which organised behind the Vermont senator’s former campaign surrogate against Ms Brown, who was aided by millions of dollars in outside spending by groups and individuals aligned with the party’s right flank.
The end of Ms Turner’s campaign came hours after progressives led by freshman Rep Cori Bush, another Justice Democrat-aligned figure, won a victory on Tuesday by securing a 60-day extension to the federal eviction moratorium, which the White House had previously claimed it lacked the legal authority to issue.
Ms Turner conceded at a watch party on Tuesday evening, blaming a massive surge of outside money for her defeat, and pledging to work to stop such outcomes from happening to other progressives.
“The special interests … know that if I had won this race, they would have been on notice”, Ms Turner said. [This race] “was compounded by dark money that only targeted me. That’s a fact”.
“My journey continues”, she added.
Polls including one released by Ms Turner’s campaign showed her ahead in the earlier stages of the primary, but Ms Brown’s campaign was boosted by more than $2 million in spending from groups including Democratic Majority for Israel, which alone spent nearly half a million in just the last week of the campaign attacking Ms Turner on local airwaves.
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, such as Rep Jim Clyburn and Bennie Thompson, also stumped for Ms Brown while nationally-prominent progressives such as Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ms Bush endorsed Ms Turner’s campaign.
“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”, Ms Turner added on Tuesday.