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Former State Rep. Bryan Flannery formally enters race for 11th congressional district

Flannery becomes the only white candidate chasing the seat long held by African Americans.

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above video aired on March 19, 2021

Former State Representative Bryan Flannery of Bath Township in Summit County officially joined today the crowded Democratic primary to succeed former 11th Congressional District Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, who left the seat to became the Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development in President Biden’s administration.

Flannery has been campaigning for a couple of weeks, including attending a candidate forum and trying to raise money.

In a phone interview with 3News, he openly acknowledged what he described as the “elephant in the room” – that he is the only white candidate running in a district with a long and rich history of being represented by African Americans.

He joins six other candidates interested in the seat, all of whom are Black.

A former Lakewood councilman, Flannery said he hopes voters judge him for his ideas, not the color of his skin. He said he can also best work with the Biden administration, a message meant to win traditional Democratic Party support.

“I will support the Biden agenda for economic and social justice,” he said.

He also said he has no plans to join “The Squad”– a reference to the progressive wing of the Democratic Caucus and veiled shot at former State Sen. Nina Turner, a frontrunner who enjoys the backing of several top progressive leaders, among others.

Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Shontel Brown is also running with the support of many Democratic Party leaders. Other candidates include former Cleveland City Councilman Jeff Johnson and former State Sen. Shirley Smith.

The special primary is Aug. 3. The general election is Nov. 2. The district includes Cleveland and eastern Cuyahoga County and portions of the Akron area in Summit County.

RELATED: Special election for Ohio's 11th congressional district will be held on Nov. 2, 2021

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Editor's Note: The below video aired on March 18, 2021