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Nina Turner Files to Run for Congress in Ohio

The former Ohio state senator and Bernie Sanders 2020 national campaign co-chair filed the requisite FEC paperwork on Wednesday.

Former Ohio state senator and Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign co-chair Nina Turner is running for Congress. (Photo: Nikolas Liepens/Flickr/cc)

Nina Turner, the former Cleveland city councilwoman, Ohio state senator, and national co-chair of Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, on Wednesday afternoon filed a statement of organization with the Federal Election Commission, signaling she will be running to represent Ohio's 11th Congressional District.

The filing followed speculation regarding Turner's intentions after President-elect Joe Biden tapped Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who represents that district, as his nominee for Housing and Urban Development secretary.

Progressive leaders and activists hailed the news of Turner's candidacy. Akron, Ohio City Councilwoman Tara Samples told Common Dreams that "Nina was built for this." 

"It's the right moment and the right time," said Samples, a close friend of Turner and former candidate for Ohio lieutenant governor. "She brings experience, credibility, and is well-versed on the issues. She will fight for the people... She's been a councilwoman and a state senator. She understands government on all levels." 

Trevor P. Martin, a member of the organizing committee of the Central Ohio chapter of Our Revolution—the Sanders-linked political action committee led by Turner from 2017 to 2019—called her "a strong progressive voice, not just for the people of Ohio, but for the nation."

Martin told Common Dreams that "there is no better person to represent the people of the 11th Congressional District. Nina was born in the district, went to grade school and college in the district, and has been serving the people of northeastern Ohio for well over a decade."

"With these hands, we will put her in Congress," he added. 

Grassroots progressive support for a Turner House run existed even before Tuesday's news that Biden would pick Fudge for the top HUD post, but swelled in the wake of the announcement. 

Turner had remained coy in the face of questions about whether she would seek the office.

"Currently, there is no vacancy in the district and if it becomes vacant, things will unfold as they should," she told Politico for an article published Tuesday.

When pressed about running, she said, "Well, there's been an outcry for me to at least consider it." "You know, I'm a public servant through and through, but I'm just going to leave it there for now."

Prominent progressive voices including Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) and Rep.-elect Cori Bush were among those urging Turner to run. 

"She'd be a fantastic ally for the movement in Congress," Khanna told Politico.

Turner "would be a dream to work alongside," added Bush. 

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