Aug 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Ohio upset's '22 clues

Shontel Brown with James Clyburn

Shontel Brown campaigns with Rep. James Clyburn in Cleveland on July 31. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

An upset in Ohio on Tuesday night is giving moderate, Biden-aligned Democrats momentum vs. the party's vocal left ahead of next year's midterms.

Driving the news: In a special primary for U.S. House in the Cleveland area, Cuyahoga County Council member Shontel Brown pulled out a surprise victory for the Democratic establishment in Cleveland.

  • The left's stars had come out for her leading opponent, progressive Nina Turner: Five days ago, Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigned in Akron. Ten days ago, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez stumped in Cleveland.

Why it matters: Brown, far behind Turner in polls and money, stayed positive and tied her fate to President Biden. In the end, Brown drew 50% to Nina Turner's 45%.

  • Matt Bennett of the centrist Third Way said: "Once again, the pundits and the Twitterverse got it wrong, and Democratic voters picked the moderate ... over the candidate ordained by the far left."

Between the lines: Brown's most successful ads — made by SKDK, which had a team on the ground — tied her to Biden.

  • House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who helped Biden win the 2020 Democratic primary, backed Brown.
  • The Congressional Black Caucus PAC also endorsed her.

🥊 In another special in Ohio last night ... Trump-backed coal lobbyist Mike Carey won a crowded GOP primary in the race to replace former U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, a Republican. (Columbus Dispatch)

Go deeper