The political wing of the CBC is running for the position of HUD Secretary to succeed Marcia Fudge.
It is becoming even more polarising in the already highly charged special election for a congressional seat in northeast Ohio.
The Congressional Black Caucus’ political wing entered the campaign and chose Shontel Brown, the chair of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, against Nina Turner, a liberal former state senator. They are both Black women.]
It’s the most significant organization so far to declare a side in the Aug. 3 primary, which has fast evolved into a proxy conflict for rival Democratic Party groups.
Hillary Clinton, Jim Clyburn, the House Majority Whip, and pro-Israel groups are all part of Brown’s coalition. The former incumbent, Marcia Fudge, who is now Secretary of Housing under President Joe Biden, is remaining impartial, but her mother has backed her.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), as well as other well-known figures on the left like Charlamagne Tha God and the Justice Democrats, are all supporters of Turner.
Brown’s initial ad against Turner painted her as being too unsupportive of Biden and primarily relied on provocative remarks Turner made while serving as Sanders’ top surrogate. The narrative of the contest was based on the previous two presidential primaries thanks to such advertisements and Clinton’s support.
The Black Caucus’ conflict with the left is another key theme in contemporary Democratic politics, which is why the CBC PAC’s backing is noteworthy. Last election cycle, the CBC banded together to defend its own as Ocasio-Cortez-inspired candidates prepared to challenge seasoned Black members of Congress.
Last year, both Rep. Yvette Clarke and current CBC chair Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) defeated progressive challengers (D-N.Y.). But in St. Louis, incumbent Democrat Lacy Clay lost to Cori Bush, who is now a congresswoman.
Ohio native Brown has already received support from Beatty, who declared that she is “ready to call her a colleague.”
In a statement, Beatty referred to Shontel Brown as “the clear option in this race,” calling her “a force in Northeast Ohio for years” who has pushed “to grow the Democratic Party.”
These 2021 specials also imply that the CBC is fighting for their selected successors as well as current members, in addition to challenges to the current members.
Cedric Richmond, an outgoing official, and member of the CBC supported Troy Carter in a Louisiana special this spring against Karen Carter Peterson, who had the support of liberal organizations. Carter won with ease.
Additionally, Clyburn made a big impression in this Ohio election when he endorsed Brown last month and criticized the left for its destructive “sloganeering” on ideas like “defund the cops” and “abolish ICE.”
However, Turner is most likely the favorite in the primary, as the victor in this strongly blue district is very certain to win the general. She revealed an internal survey indicating a significant advantage over Brown and has so far outraised Brown.
Turner also has a handful of CBC members who support him, but they are all very clear on the left. Bush, Bowman, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Mondaine Jones of New York have all sided with her.
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