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Nina Turner, the former Ohio State senator and Bernie Sanders national campaign co-chair, speaks at a rally in Philadelphia on July 11, 2019. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner speaks during a rally protesting the imminent closure of Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia on July 11, 2019. (Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

'Let's Do This!': Progressive Powerhouses Swiftly Endorse Nina Turner After She Announces House Run

Rep. Ro Khanna said that the former Ohio state senator "will bring a phenomenal commitment to a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, and free public college."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer

It's official—Nina Turner is running for Congress. The former Ohio state senator kicked off her campaign Tuesday for the House seat to be vacated by Rep. Marcia Fudge, who was selected for a Biden Cabinet post, and no sooner did she announce her candidacy than a parade of progressive powerhouses lined up to offer their support.

"[Nina] deeply cares for working families and she has the heart to be an effective, unwavering fighter for them in Congress. I am proud to endorse her candidacy."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

Speaking to a capacity crowd of supporters—on Zoom, that is—Turner said that "what I want the people of Akron and Cleveland to know is that I know what it means to be counted out."

"I am running to ensure the people of Akron and Cleveland are always counted in," Turner pledged in the impassioned voice that has made her a favorite of progressive activists across the nation. 

And across the nation, progressives were thrilled by Turner's run. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) moved swiftly to endore the woman who was a standout surrogate during his 2016 presidential run and his national campaign co-chair in 2020. 

"I've gotten to know Nina over the last five years," Sanders tweeted. "She deeply cares for working families and she has the heart to be an effective, unwavering fighter for them in Congress. I am proud to endorse her candidacy."

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), another former Sanders campaign co-chair, was also quick to throw his support behind Turner, tweeting that she "will bring a phenomenal commitment to a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, and free public college."

From national political figures and organizations to local leaders, the support kept pouring in following Turner's announcement.

"Senator Nina Turner has always had my back, and now I'm proud to have hers," tweeted Birmingham, Alabama Mayor Randall Woodfin. "Let's do this!"

Our Revolution, the pro-Sanders political action committee chaired by Turner from 2017 to 2019, and Democracy for America, were among the first groups to show love.

It wasn't just fellow politicians and political organizations that were lining up to support Turner. Rapper and activist Killer Mike; actors and activists Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon, and Mark Ruffalo; and popular podcast host Charlamagne tha God were just some of the prominent progressives who offered their endorsements.

In a Monday interview with Politico, Turner a self-described "daughter of Cleveland," vowed to fight for single-payer healthcare, direct payments for coronavirus relief, a $15 minimum wage, student loan debt cancellation, and free college and trade school.

"Trying to make the Democratic Party better and insist very strongly that it answers to the cries of the people—to me that's what being a Democrat is, not just going along to get along," Turner asserted. "The partnership between President-elect [Joe] Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris shows that people can have their differences. … [Harris] called out the vice president on his record on race with substance—very strongly, she did—and look at their partnership now."

The date of the special congressional election for Ohio's 11th District will be determined once Fudge—who last week was tapped by Biden for the post of secretary of housing and urban development—officially resigns her House seat. 


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