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Nina Turner AOC

Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner (left) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y., right) appear together at a July 24, 2021 campaign event in Cleveland. (Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

'Better Late Than Never': AOC Endorses Nina Turner on Eve of Congressional Primary

The New York congresswoman said Turner "will be a powerful voice for policies that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of working people across this country."

Brett Wilkins

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Monday made an 11th-hour endorsement of Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner, calling the former state senator and Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign co-chair a "powerful voice" for working people and progressive policies.

"Nina is exactly the kind of progressive leader we need more of in Congress."

"Nina is exactly the kind of progressive leader we need more of in Congress," Ocasio-Cortez's team wrote in a fundraising email sent on the eve of Tuesday's primary and first reported by The New York Times. "She has spent her entire career advocating for working people—on the Cleveland City Council, in the Ohio state Senate, and on Sen. Bernie Sanders' 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns."

"She will be a powerful voice for policies that will make a meaningful difference in the lives of working people across this country—like Medicare for All, a $15 minimum wage, and a Green New Deal," the email added. "We need her alongside Alexandria in Congress in the fight for racial, economic, social, and environmental justice."

Turner is running in Ohio's 11th Congressional District Democratic primary for the second straight time. She lost last August to the current incumbent, Rep. Shontel Brown, in a special election to fill the House seat vacated by former Rep. Marcia Fudge's appointment as U.S. secretary of housing and urban development.

Last month, the Congressional Progressive Caucus—which counts both Brown and Ocasio-Cortez among its members—controversially endorsed the incumbent despite her strong support from corporate lobbyists, conservative Democrats, and a pro-Israel super PAC funded by a fossil fuel billionaire.

President Joe Biden, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and other centrist and right-wing Democrats have also endorsed Brown.

In an April 26 Washington Post op-ed, Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation, called Brown "a standard-issue establishment Democrat backed by the corporate-money wing of the Democratic Party that operates through outfits such as the D.C.-based think tank Third Way and various dark-money PACs."

Turner's endorsements include Sanders, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, various progressive organizations including Our Revolution—the Sanders-affiliated political action group she formerly chaired—and the editorial board of Ohio's largest newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Some progressives expressed dismay over the timing of Ocasio-Cortez's endorsement, with political commentator Krystal Ball tweeting, "Better later than never I guess?"

"At least AOC checked the box unlike the others," she added, referring to the conspicuous absence of progressive endorsements for Turner this time around. "But what will an endorsement 12 hours before Election Day voting starts actually accomplish? The abandonment of Nina by 'progressives' is an incredible betrayal."

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