Democrats Shontel Brown and Nina Turner are neck-and-neck in the special election primary campaign to replace former Rep. Marcia Fudge (D., Ohio), who stepped down to become President Joe Biden's housing secretary.
A Washington Free Beacon poll shows Brown and Turner locked at 33 percent, both more than 20 points ahead of the rest of the pack. While Turner began as an overwhelming favorite in the race and took an early lead, the numbers show Brown has consolidated her support among voters looking for an alternative to the Bernie Sanders-endorsed socialist.
The Aug. 3 primary, which is likely to determine the winner of the November election in the solidly Democratic district, has become the latest front in the battle between the Democratic Party's left and far-left wings.
Brown, a Cuyahoga County councilwoman, has the support of mainstream Democrats including House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, while Turner, the former co-chair of Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, is touting endorsements from Squad members Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.), and Ayanna Pressley (D., Mass.).
While Turner's hostility to Israel has drawn concern from pro-Israel Democrats, the race has centered on which candidate can better unite and expand the party. Brown has hammered Turner for her refusal to endorse Hillary Clinton in 2016 after she defeated Sanders in the Democratic primary, and for advertising her disgust at casting a ballot for Joe Biden.
"It's like saying to somebody, ‘You have a bowl of shit in front of you, and all you've got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing,'" Turner said in July 2020 of Biden's emergence as the Democratic nominee. "It's still shit."
The race has also drawn the interest of pro-Israel Democrats, including the advocacy group Democratic Majority for Israel, which is working to boost Brown over Turner, citing Turner's professed "solidarity" with the Palestinian people and her support for conditioning aid to Israel.
The Free Beacon poll is consistent with other recent surveys, including the internal polling conducted by the Brown campaign, which shows Turner leading Brown 43 to 36 percent.
Turner maintains a fundraising edge, with over $1 million in cash on hand as of mid-April, while Brown had $582,000.
Though Democrats like Rachel Maddow have cast aspersions on Free Beacon polling, which predicted a tight race between Clinton and Sanders in the 2016 Nevada caucus, the surveys have a strong track record. A Free Beacon poll conducted in April showed a tight race in Texas's Sixth Congressional District between Republicans Susan Wright and Jake Ellzey. Wright went on to top Ellzey by just 5 points, and the two are now headed for a runoff.
The poll was conducted by TargetPoint Consulting and surveyed 300 likely Democratic primary voters between July 8 and 10.