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AOC-backed Sanders ally beaten in closely watched Ohio House primary

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Far-left Democrats were dealt a big blow Tuesday as former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a co-chair of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, was defeated by Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown in a much-anticipated special US House primary election.

With 96.5 percent of precincts reporting, Brown led Turner by 4,380 votes out of more than 71,000 votes cast. Turner conceded the race soon after 10 p.m. local time, telling supports: “On this night, we will not cross the river.”

The contest in Ohio’s 11th District, a deep-blue constituency that includes most of Cleveland, parts of Akron and several majority-black precincts in between the two cities, was widely seen as a referendum on the future direction of the Democratic Party.

Endorsements poured in accordingly, with Hillary Clinton, House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), the political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus, and major unions backing Brown. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow members of the progressive “Squad” swung behind Turner, while Sanders headlined a get-out-the-vote rally in Cleveland for his onetime surrogate over the weekend.

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Nina Turner, former co-chair of Sanders' 2020 presidential campaign, conceded the Ohio primary shortly after 10 p.m.
Nina Turner, former co-chair of Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, conceded the Ohio primary shortly after 10 p.m.
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“I need her alongside me in Congress in the fight for racial, economic, social, and environmental justice,” said Ocasio-Cortez when she endorsed Turner in March.

Brown also received crucial backing from a pair of Democratic pro-Israel organizations: the Pro-Israel America PAC and the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC, the latter of which plowed nearly $2 million into the race.

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Shontel Brown is expected to beat Republican primary winner Laverne Gore in November.
Shontel Brown is expected to beat Republican primary winner Laverne Gore in November.
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“I am going to work hard to ensure that something like this doesn’t happen to another progressive candidate again,” Turner vowed in her concession speech. “We didn’t lose this race, evil money manipulated and maligned this election.”

By contrast, Brown thanked “my Jewish brothers and sisters” for their support in her victory remarks.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democratic "squad" members backed Turner in March.
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and fellow Democratic “squad” members backed Turner in March.
Getty Images

“I want to roll up my sleeves and get to work to make sure we are delivering results for the people, relief for the people who need it the most,” Brown said. “We are celebrating today. I’m grateful for all the love and support, but I want to get up and do what I’ve always done and that’s work, work, work.”

Brown is heavily favored to defeat Republican primary winner Laverne Gore, a business owner, consultant, trainer and community activist, in the November general election. Barring a shocking upset, Brown would then succeed Marcia Fudge, who resigned from the House in March to become Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

With Post wires

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