Possible Major Congressional Upgrade On The Horizon: Nina Turner To Represent Cleveland?

There are strong rumors going around Capitol Hill that Biden picked Marcia Fudge for HUD as a favor to Pelosi. That may rebound on Pelosi in a way she never imagined. Let me come back to that-- it's good news-- in a moment.

Yesterday, when it leaked that Biden was going to put Fudge, the congresswoman from Cleveland, into his cabinet as HUD Secretary, I asked some of her colleagues what they thought of the pick. I tweeted the first response I got: "I think that she’ll be horrible. She’s cold, dishonest, introverted, unproductive... a pointless, wasted appointment. We really seem mired in this whole identity appointments thing." Just moments later, another member of Congress, one I hadn't heard from in quite a while, called me on the phone saying he could barely stop laughing after reading the tweet. "Those are the exact same words I would have used to describe her... I didn't know there was anyone else who felt the same way I did."

Turns out there are many. And they all decided I was the one to tell about it. I wish as many members would call me about the $1,200 checks I was asking them to take positions on! One member told me she feels sorry for the career professionals at HUD but that she's happy to see Fudge leaving the House. Fudge is not well liked and I was told Pelosi is eager to see her go.

Fudge's district, OH-11, is gerrymandered in such a way as to to concentrate ("pack") as many Democrats into it as possible, thereby making surrounding districts "safe" for Republicans, in this case OH-14 (David Joyce), OH-16 (Anthony Gonzalez) and OH-07 (Bob Gibbs). The PVI is an outrageous D+32, in one sense, the most egregiously gerrymandered district in Ohio. Republican congressional candidates there are lucky to get 20% of the vote. This cycle Republican Laverne Gore nearly did-- 19.9%. In 2016, Trump's share of the vote was 17.0% and this year it was 19.2%.

Obviously, the Democratic primary is the key to this district and it it looking like Nina Turner, born and raised in Cleveland, a former member of the Cleveland City Council and then a state Senator representing much of the eastern end of the district, is going to run. Outside of Cleveland, she is best known as a fiery Bernie Sanders supporter and as an effective advocate for strong policies to help working families.

Other names being bandied about for the seat include Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair Shontel Brown, Pastor Jawanza Colvin, former state senators Jeff Johnson and Shirley Smith, former state Rep John Barnes and state House minority leader Emilia Sykes.