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Northeast Ohio Democrats Line Up to Vie for Fudge's House Seat

A photo of Marcia Fudge campaigning with Kamala Harris in Cleveland
David Dermer
Then-Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) walks with Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) outside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections during a campaign event on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.

Several Cleveland-area Democratic politicians have announced they will seek Rep. Marcia Fudge's congressional seat. Fudge has been nominated to serve in President-elect Joe Biden's cabinet as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chair Shontel Brown and Nina Turner, a top supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential run, filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to create campaign committees on Wednesday. Jeff Johnson, a former state lawmaker and city councilman, has indicated he will also run for the seat.

Brown serves on Cuyahoga County Council and was elected to lead the county party in 2017. She is a former city council member from Warrensville Heights, where Fudge served as mayor from January 2000 until November 2008.

Turner, a former state senator and Cleveland City Council member, became a leading surrogate for Sanders in the 2016 and 2020 Democratic primaries. She led Our Revolution, a progressive political group that grew out of Sanders’ campaign.

Johnson, who ran for mayor of Cleveland in 2017 and now serves as administrator for Cleveland Housing Court, emphasized his political experience and early support for Biden’s candidacy.

“It’s important for me to make it clear to the voters of the 11th District that I’m going to Washington to support the Biden-Harris administration on behalf of the 11th District,” he said. “I believe in them.”

President-elect Joe Biden announced Thursday he will nominate Fudge to serve as secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Fudge has held the seat since 2008, when she replaced Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who died suddenly while in office.

Ohio’s 11th Congressional District, first represented by Louis Stokes, holds a prime position in Cleveland-area Black politics, currently stretching from Cleveland to Akron and including many of the majority-Black precincts for the two cities, though it will be redrawn during next year’s redistricting.

Copyright 2020 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

Editor's note: This story has been updated.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.