Rep. Shontel Brown will likely retain her seat after defeating former state Sen. Nina Turner in Tuesday’s primary election. Brown won by a much larger margin than in the August special election, easily taking more than 66 percent of the total vote.
While Brown will face a Republican challenger in November, the district is solidly Republican, and her win is likely guaranteed. In a tweet before the race was called, Turner said that no matter the outcome, her team worked hard.
Primaries can be brutal for progressive challengers, even with a large national profile like Turner. According to local news reports, the primary had the third-lowest voter turnout in more than 35 years. The unofficial statewide turnout was 20.64% of all eligible voters cast a ballot.
Even with the endorsement of the local paper of record, Turner couldn’t sufficiently close the gap. The Intercept noted that some progressive groups left Turner hanging by not investing in her race. As reported by Akela Lacy, Justice Democrats pointed to massive spending by pro-Israel groups that made it difficult for them to support candidates everywhere.
While it’s quick to dismiss the results as a blowout of progressive candidates, building alternatives to existing political machines takes time and money.
“If we had twice the budget, we could likely get involved in twice the number of primaries,” a Justice Democrats spokesperson told The Intercept. “When we endorse a candidate, we’re typically going all-in for them with significant staff and financial investment, which isn’t possible for us to do in every primary right now.”
Max Berger, co-founder of the progressive Jewish organization If Not Now, tweeted about groups like Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) spending money to defeat working-class women of color like Turner. Turner previously told the Intercept that the spending by such groups targeted her directly.
Several members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who previously endorsed Turner stayed out of the race. Brown technically joined the progressive caucus, which may have led several colleagues to stand down.
In another closely watched race, Rep. Tim Ryan became the Democratic nominee for Senate, defeating his progressive challenger Morgan Harper. Ryan will face author J.D. Vance in November. Backed by Trump, Vance has fed into the former president’s antics doing and saying whatever it takes to win.
Former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley will face off against Gov. Mike DeWine in the November general election. Whaley chose Cheryl Stephens, who is Black, as her running mate.
With Whaley’s win Tuesday night, the ticket becomes the first all-woman ticket to represent a major party in the state’s history.
The primary season is just beginning to heat up. Stay tuned for more coverage.