CLEVELAND — New York U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was in Cleveland Saturday to campaign for former State Sen. Nina Turner, who is running to become the next congresswoman from Ohio's 11th district.
Ocasio-Cortez first endorsed Turner months ago, citing their similar progressive positions on a variety of issues. She had high praise for the candidate during what was her second trip to Northeast Ohio.
"I think it's extremely clear that Nina Turner is the candidate in this race that answers to the people of Ohio first and foremost," Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview with 3News. "She has supported, she has worked in this community, she has served in this community, and she understands this community's needs."
Ocasio-Cortez is one of several prominent progressives to endorse Turner's bid, which has essentially become a two-way race in the Democratic primary between Turner and Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Chair Shontel Brown. Turner is seen as the favorite of the party's left-leaning wing (i.e. Bernie Sanders), while Brown represents the more moderate "establishment."
"There's a lot of dark money, there's a lot of kind of D.C. and insider folks trying to tell Ohioans what to do," Ocasio Cortez said. "It's really important that we have a champion that has been in our community that we can trust with a track record of fighting for working people, our health care, environmental justice, living wages, the right to unionize."
Ocasio-Cortez was also asked about the Cleveland Indians, who this week announced they will be changing their name to the Guardians after more than a century with their current moniker. The congresswoman expressed support for the decision, and applauded the ballclub for "leading the charge" for greater inclusion.
"It's an example that the time is always right to respect communities, to embrace communities," she said. "I think it's no coincidence that the city of Cleveland is leading the charge in professional sports and showing how we can be a more inclusive, compassionate, and loving country, in our sports and overall."
The special primary election for Ohio's 11th congressional district is set for Aug. 3, with the general election to follow on Nov. 2. The area is considered one of the safest districts for Democrats in the country, making the winner of that party's primary the likely winner of the seat.