The Amalgamated Transit Union endorsed former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner’s congressional run on Tuesday, giving the progressive contender a significant increase within the aggressive race to fill a Cleveland-area congressional seat.
The transportation staff union’s Cleveland chapter, Local 268, counts an estimated 1,800 members in Ohio’s eleventh Congressional District, the place Turner is operating.
“We trust Nina Turner to fight for our families, support our union, bolster public transit, recover from this pandemic, and deliver for American workers in Congress because of her longstanding history of fighting for our values,” ATU International President John Costa mentioned in a press release.
Turner welcomed the endorsement, calling transportation staff “the backbone of our region’s economy.”
“I stand with Ohio’s working families and the poor, working poor, and barely middle class across this country, and I am extremely grateful to have the trust and endorsement of the ATU members,” Turner mentioned in a press release.
Turner, 53, is one among 5 Democrats competing to succeed Rep. Marcia Fudge, whom President Joe Biden has nominated to function secretary of housing and concrete improvement. The Democratic main election to interchange Fudge is predicted to happen in May, however an official date is not going to be referred to as till the Senate confirms Fudge and he or she formally vacates the seat.
Turner’s early backing of the presidential marketing campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in November 2015 catapulted her into progressive stardom. She has since run the progressive nonprofit Our Revolution that emerged from Sanders’s first bid, served as a prime aide on Sanders’s second bid in 2020 and based her personal political consulting firm.
Not surprisingly, Turner has rapidly unified the activist left, together with lawmakers like Sanders, behind her bid.
But she is up in opposition to a lot of Cleveland’s Democratic institution, which has coalesced round Shontel Brown, 45, a Cuyahoga County councilwoman who additionally chairs the county occasion.
Brown enjoys the backing of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), in addition to an array of native elected officers, ministers, pro-Israel teams and constructing commerce unions, together with the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council.
The ATU, against this, is the primary union to endorse Turner’s bid. The backing of the 200,000-member union indicators that Turner’s attraction extends past the Democratic Party’s most progressive corners and into the mainstream, multiracial working class that populates Cleveland, Akron and their satellite tv for pc communities.
Given the ATU’s ties to the Democratic mainstream, the union’s blessing is also a vote of confidence in Turner’s partisan credentials. The ATU was one of many first unions to endorse then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, backing his marketing campaign forward of the 2020 Iowa caucuses.
That type of institutional help is more likely to be vital for Turner, who’s unafraid to break with Democratic management and is already taking warmth for it. Brown and her allies have sought to outline Brown as a “partner” to Biden moderately than a “thorn” within the president’s aspect, implying that Turner may be within the latter class. For her half, Turner insists that she is merely a “thorn in the side of injustice” and plans to prioritize her constituents above all else.
The ATU’s endorsement additionally attests to Turner’s deep roots in Ohio’s labor motion. Her advocacy for a referendum overturning a legislation that restricted public-sector bargaining rights received her the loyalty of her successor within the state Senate, Democratic Caucus Chair Kenny Yuko.
“There has never been a time when Nina Turner did not stand with Ohio’s working men and women,” William H. Nix Sr., president of ATU Local 268, mentioned in a press release. “She is a trusted ally to the hard-working families of our community, and we know she will ensure we are not left out as America begins to recover from this pandemic.”
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up for membership to turn out to be a founding member and assist form HuffPost’s subsequent chapter