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 Bernie and Nina

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), then a 2020 Democratic presidential primary candidate, and Nina Turner, a national co-chair of his campaign, appeared onstage during a rally at Charleston Area Convention Center on February 26, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Bernie Sanders to Headline Nina Turner Rally in Ohio Days Before Primary

The progressive House hopeful says she is proud to be joined in Cleveland by Sanders, who "sparked a movement that shifted what is possible in American politics."

Jessica Corbett

Sen. Bernie Sanders will travel to Ohio at the end of the month to headline a rally for House candidate Nina Turner just days ahead of the August 3 Democratic primary, her campaign announced Wednesday, two weeks into the early voting period.

Sanders (I-Vt.) will deliver a keynote speech at a get-out-the-vote rally for Turner on July 31 at Cleveland's Agora Theatre and Ballroom. After the rally, there will be a march to the polls.

Turner is one of several Democrats running to represent Ohio's 11th Congressional District, a seat that Marcia Fudge left to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Turner was previously a member of the Cleveland City Council and Ohio state Senate.

The candidate has a well-established relationship with Sanders; she supported both of his runs for president and even served as a national co-chair for his 2020 campaign. Sanders quickly backed Turner when she announced her bid for the House seat in December.

Sanders, in a tweet endorsing Turner, said that "she deeply cares for working families and she has the heart to be an effective, unwavering fighter for them in Congress."

In a Wednesday statement announcing Sanders' upcoming trip, Turner painted him as a role model.

"Sen. Sanders sparked a movement that shifted what is possible in American politics," she said. "I am proud to be joined by Sen. Sanders in my hometown of Cleveland. He has shown that one can be a principled partner to the president in moving forward an agenda that centers the poor, working poor, and the barely middle class."

Though there are a dozen other candidates on the ballot, Turner's main opponent in the race is Shontel Brown, who chairs the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party and has won the support of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), the majority whip.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that ​​with this election, "the voters of Ohio's 11th District will render that judgment and with it, some indication of the direction the Democratic Party is heading: toward the defiant and progressive approach Ms. Turner embodies or the reserved mold of its leaders in Washington, shaped more by the establishment than the ferment stirring its grassroots."

Turner believes in Medicare for All and housing as a human right. She is running on calls for economic and environmental justice, expanding public education, reimagining public safety, and Covid-19 recovery policies that include raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, providing families and businesses with recurring relief, creating nationwide personal protective equipment (PPE) workplace safety standards, and continuing a federal moratorium on evictions.

Sanders told the Times that Turner "would be a real asset for the House," adding that "she is a very, very strong progressive, and I hope very much she is going to win."

Other supporters of Turner include actors and activists Danny Glover, Mark Ruffalo, and Susan Sarandon; the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board; more than 50 elected officials in her state; over 40 progressive groups; dozens of faith leaders; and 14 other current members of the U.S. House or Senate—including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who plans to campaign for the candidate in Ohio on Saturday.

"Nina Turner has shown through years of public service that she is an effective legislator who can build coalitions and get things done without sacrificing her principles," Ocasio-Cortez said earlier this month. "She has the courage to ask for more and the skills to deliver. I can't wait to travel to Ohio to knock doors for Nina Turner and help turn out the vote."

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