Nina Turner

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Nina Turner
Turner in 2020
Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 25th district
In office
September 15, 2008 – December 31, 2014
Preceded byLance Mason
Succeeded byKenny Yuko
Member of the Cleveland City Council
from Ward 1
In office
January 1, 2006 – September 16, 2008
Preceded byJoe Jones
Succeeded byTerrell Pruitt
Personal details
Nina Hudson

(1967-12-07) December 7, 1967 (age 56)
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseJeffery Turner
EducationCuyahoga Community College (AA)
Cleveland State University (BA, MA) Edit this at Wikidata

Nina Hudson Turner (née Hudson; born December 7, 1967) is an American politician, lobbyist, and television personality. A member of the Democratic Party, she was a Cleveland City Council member from 2006 to 2008 and a member of the Ohio Senate from 2008 until 2014. Turner was the Democratic nominee for Ohio Secretary of State in 2014, but lost in the general election against incumbent Jon Husted, receiving 35.5 percent of the vote. A self-described democratic socialist,[1] her politics have been variously described as progressive,[2] left-wing,[3] or far-left.[4]

Turner supported Bernie Sanders in his 2016 presidential campaign, and became president of the Sanders-affiliated group Our Revolution in 2017. She served as a national co-chair of Sanders's 2020 presidential campaign. Turner ran in the Democratic primary for 2021 special election for Ohio's 11th congressional district, and conceded the race after losing to Shontel Brown by a margin of 5.66% of the vote.[5][6] Turner unsuccessfully challenged Brown for the seat again in 2022, garnering 33.5% of the vote to Brown's 66.5% in the Democratic primary.

Early life and education[edit]

Turner is a native of Cleveland, Ohio. She was born Nina Hudson, to parents, Faye and Taalib, the first of seven children.[7][8] Her father and mother separated by the time Turner was five years old. Her mother worked as a preacher and as a nurse's aide in a senior home, struggled with high blood pressure all her life and died in 1992 at the age of 42.[7][8]

Turner graduated from Cleveland's John F. Kennedy High School in 1986. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and a Master of Arts degree from Cleveland State University.[9] She has an Associate in Arts degree from Cuyahoga Community College where she is now a tenured assistant professor of history.[10]

Early career[edit]

She began her professional career as an aide in 2001 to then-state Senator Rhine McLin.[11] Turner worked for Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White. She later lobbied for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District at the state and federal levels.[12]

Cleveland City Council (2006–2008)[edit]

Turner made a run for Cleveland City Council in 2001, but was defeated by the incumbent, Joe Jones. In November 2004, Jones resigned his City Council seat. His wife, Tonya Jones, was the top vote-getter in a September nine-way, non-partisan primary race to select a candidate to fill Jones' seat. In the November 2005 election, Turner defeated Tonya Jones to become the Council Member for Ward One, the first African American woman in the seat.[11][13]

Turner served on Cleveland City Council from 2006 to 2008.[14]

Ohio State Senate (2008–2014)[edit]

Turner speaking at a rally on November 17, 2016

In September 2008, Senator Lance Mason resigned his 25th District seat in the Ohio Senate to accept an appointment to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Turner was unanimously selected by the Ohio Senate Democratic caucus to serve the remainder of Mason's four-year Senate term. She resigned her City Council seat to accept the appointment on September 15, 2008. In the 128th General Assembly, Turner was the Ranking Minority member on the Senate Highways & Transportation and Judiciary Criminal Justice Committees.

Turner won a full term in 2010, running unopposed in the general election. She was elected as Minority Whip halfway through the 129th General Assembly. She was Minority Whip in the following General Assembly. By then her district consisted of the eastern side of Cuyahoga County as well as half of Lake County (including the Village of Fairport Harbor, the Village of Grand River, the City of Painesville and parts of Painesville Township; but excluding the City of Kirtland, the Village of Kirtland Hills, the Village of Waite Hill, the City of Willoughby Hills and most of the City of Mentor).

Turner considered running against incumbent Marcia Fudge in the 2012 Democratic primary for Ohio's 11th congressional district but declined, opting to stay in the State Senate.[15]

As a political statement against legislation attempting to restrict women's access to contraception and abortion,[16] in March 2012, Turner introduced a bill to regulate men's reproductive health. Before getting a prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs, a man would have to get a notarized affidavit signed by a recent sexual partner affirming his impotency, consult with a sex therapist and receive a cardiac stress test. She said the proposed statute would be parallel to recent legislation written by male legislators restricting women's reproductive health and that she was equally concerned about men's reproductive health.[17] The proposed legislation was not meant to be passed, but as a way of bringing attention to similar bills targeted towards women.[16]

In January 2014, Turner led unsuccessful efforts to change Ohio's rape custody law. It permits visitation and custody by men who father children via rape or sexual assault against a woman or girl. Turner wanted to protect rape victims/survivors and children conceived as a result of rape by preventing parental custody rights from being provided to rapists who fathered their children. She said it may be difficult for people to contemplate that a person would desire parental rights for a child conceived due to rape, though it occurs.[18] She and fellow Democrat Charleta Tavares introduced SB-171. It would allow rape victims to file court claims terminating their attacker's parental rights and permit a mother to place her child up for adoption without being required to seek her attacker's approval. The bill was stalled in the senate.[19]

Community college professor[edit]

Turner has been a member of the faculty at her alma mater Cuyahoga Community College since 1998.[20] She was an assistant professor of history there, where she taught African-American history, African-American women's history, American history, and women's studies.[10]

Work with Bernie Sanders[edit]

Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign[edit]

In the 2016 presidential election, Turner initially supported Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination but switched her support to Bernie Sanders.[21][22] After Clinton won the nomination, Turner was invited by Jill Stein to become the Green Party's nominee for Vice President, but she declined saying, "I believe that the Democratic Party is worth fighting for."[23] Turner went on to decline to endorse Hillary Clinton in the 2016 United States Presidential Election against Donald Trump, saying that she would endorse the party's platform in the election not an individual.[24]

In December 2016, Turner served as a member of the DNC Unity Reform Commission in Washington, D.C. to address concerns that arose regarding the presidential nominating process, particularly regarding the roles of caucuses, superdelegates, and corporate donations.[25]

Our Revolution[edit]

In 2016, Turner became the president and public face of Our Revolution, a progressive political action organization that grew out of Bernie Sanders's 2016 presidential campaign.

According to a May 2018 review by Politico, Our Revolution was "flailing" and "in disarray" a year into her leadership.[26] By May 2018, the organization's monthly fundraising totals were one-third of what they had been May 2017. According to Politico, the group operated primarily as a vehicle for Sanders and had "shown no ability to tip a major Democratic election in its favor—despite possessing Sanders's email list, the envy of the Democratic Party—and can claim no major wins in 2018 as its own". There was infighting within the group as figures in the organization speculated whether Turner was using the organization for a presidential run of her own. They questioned whether she was settling scores from 2016 with the Democratic National Committee and criticized her hiring of associates to senior positions within the organization. Our Revolution also endorsed Dennis Kucinich in the race for the Democratic nomination for the 2018 Ohio governorship; questions were raised about Turner's close relation to Kucinich's running mate.[26]

Turner campaigning for Sanders in March 2019

Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign[edit]

On February 21, 2019, Turner was named a national co-chair of the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.[27] She appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews,[28] Meet the Press,[29] Politics Nation, State of the Union,[30] and other programs in support of Sanders.[31]

A few weeks before the 2020 Democratic National Convention, Turner expressed her disdain for being forced to choose between presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and incumbent Donald Trump. She told Peter Nicholas of The Atlantic, "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.’ It's still shit."[32] Turner declined to endorse Joe Biden in the 2020 United States Presidential election after Biden officially became the Democratic nominee.[33]

In September 2020, in partnership with Mercury Public Affairs, Turner launched the progressive public affairs firm Amare Public Affairs.[34]

Candidacy runs[edit]

2014 Secretary of State election[edit]

On July 1, 2013, Turner declared her candidacy for Ohio Secretary of State, challenging Republican Jon Husted.[35] On September 18, 2014, Bill Clinton officially supported Turner's candidacy.[36] Turner was defeated 60%–35% by Husted.[37]

2021 Ohio's 11th congressional district special election[edit]

Turner ran in a special election to replace Marcia Fudge who resigned her seat. She lost to Cuyahoga County Council woman Shontel Brown in the Democratic primary.[38]

2022 Ohio 11th congressional district election[edit]

In September 2021, Turner filed paperwork with the FEC to run for Congress in the same district in 2022. Although she did not officially declare her intention to run for the seat at that time, her filing "leaves the door open. Turner has conceded in the past that she will make another run for Congress," according to The Plain Dealer.[39]

On January 26, 2022, Turner announced her intention to run against Brown for a second time.[40] Turner was not re-endorsed by prominent members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who endorsed her last year.

On May 3, 2022, Brown defeated Turner with 66% of votes to Turner's 34%.[41][42]

Political views[edit]

Turner's politics have been described in the media as progressive,[2][43][44] left-wing,[3][45] or far-left.[4][46] She identifies as a democratic socialist.[1]

During Turner's runs for congress, she supported Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, a $15 minimum wage, legalizing cannabis, canceling student debt, and tuition-free tertiary education.[47]

In support of striking workers, Turner launched the organization We Are Somebody in October 2023.[48][49]

Television appearances[edit]

Turner has worked for CNN as a contributor. In June 2017, she began a regular segment on The Real News Network called The Nina Turner Show.[50] In 2018, Turner portrayed a fictitious version of herself in the pilot episode of the television series Black Lightning, praising Cress Williams' character Jefferson Pierce.[51]

On September 14, 2021, Turner was hired by The Young Turks as a contributor and co-anchor.[52]

Electoral history[edit]

Ohio Senate 25th district 2010 election
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct
2010 Nina Turner 73,694 100.00% Unopposed
Ohio Secretary of State 2014 election
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct Libertarian Votes Pct
2014 Nina Turner 1,074,475 35.5% Jon Husted 1,811,020 59.8% Kevin Knedler 141,292 4.7%

2021 Ohio 11th congressional district special election[edit]


Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Shontel Brown 38,505 50.11
Democratic Nina Turner 34,239 44.56
Democratic Jeff Johnson 1,388 1.81
Democratic John E. Barnes Jr. 801 1.04
Democratic Shirley Smith 599 0.78
Democratic Seth J. Corey 493 0.64
Democratic Pamela M. Pinkey 184 0.24
Democratic Will Knight 182 0.24
Democratic Tariq Shabazz 134 0.17
Democratic Martin Alexander 105 0.14
Democratic James Jerome Bell 101 0.13
Democratic Lateek Shabazz 61 0.08
Democratic Isaac Powell 52 0.07
Total votes 76,844 100.00

2022 Ohio 11th congressional district[edit]

Democratic primary results
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Shontel Brown (incumbent) 40,517 66.5
Democratic Nina Turner 20,395 33.5
Total votes 60,912 100.0

Personal life[edit]

Turner is married to Jeffery Turner Sr. They have a son, Jeffrey Turner Jr., a lieutenant in the Ohio National Guard.[11] They reside in Cleveland while Turner works out of Washington, D.C.[54]

Turner is a Christian and has publicly stated how her faith forms a basis for her political convictions.[55]


  1. ^ a b "An Interview With Nina Turner". Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Perano, Ursula (April 27, 2022). "Nina Turner's Back for a Bitter Rematch Against Shontel Brown". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Rep. Shontel Brown beats left-wing challenger Nina Turner in Democratic primary". Washington Examiner. May 4, 2022. Retrieved July 20, 2022.
  4. ^ a b Burns, Alexander (August 4, 2021). "In String of Wins, 'Biden Democrats' See a Reality Check for the Left". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 17, 2022. Retrieved July 19, 2022. A far-left former state legislator, Ms. Turner declined to endorse Hillary Clinton over Donald J. Trump in 2016.
  5. ^ Mutnick, Ally (August 3, 2021). "Establishment prevails as Brown beats Turner in Ohio special election". POLITICO. Retrieved August 4, 2021.
  6. ^ "Ohio 11th Congressional District Primary Election Results". The New York Times. May 3, 2022. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Gomez, Henry J. (November 22, 2009). "Nina Turner's future bright due to gutsy stand on Issue 6". The Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on August 9, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011 – via
  8. ^ a b Walsh, Joan (June 28, 2021). "Nina Turner is Running to Join the Squad". {{cite magazine}}: Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  9. ^ "Nina Turner." Who's Who Among African Americans. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2017. Retrieved via Biography in Context database, June 30, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Former state senator Nina Turner reflects on her education journey". Cuyahoga Community College. March 30, 2017. Archived from the original on August 5, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c Troy, Tom (July 1, 2013). "Politics: State Sen. Nina Turner from Cleveland to run for Ohio secretary of state Archived 10 November 2017 at the Wayback Machine". The Blade (Toledo). Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  12. ^ "Ladies Gallery: Nina Turner". Ohio Statehouse. 2009.
  13. ^ "Our Campaigns - Cleveland City Council- Ward 01 Race - Nov 08, 2005".
  14. ^ "Voting rights at center of hot race". mydaytondailynews. Archived from the original on September 18, 2018. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Eaton, Sabrina (December 30, 2011). "State Sen. Nina Turner drops congressional primary bid against Rep. Marcia Fudge". Retrieved July 30, 2021.
  16. ^ a b Tomassoni, Teresa (March 15, 2012). "In Protest, Democrats Zero In On Men's Reproductive Health". NPR. Retrieved January 17, 2018.
  17. ^ Borchardt, Jackie (March 12, 2012). "Bill introduced to regulate men's reproductive health; Part of a trend, she likens the bill to men legislating 'a woman's womb.'". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  18. ^ Bourgeois, Caleigh (January 15, 2014). "Ohio senator trying to change rape custody law". Archived from the original on February 28, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  19. ^ "Do rapists have parental rights?". June 2, 2014. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "Nina Turner Resume" (PDF). Sanders Institute. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 7, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2020.
  21. ^ Kosich, John (February 1, 2016). "Former State Senator Nina Turner's growing role as campaign surrogate for Bernie Sanders". WEWS-TV. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  22. ^ Collins, Eliza (November 12, 2015). "Ohio's Nina Turner jumps from Clinton to Sanders". Politico. Archived from the original on March 13, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2016.
  23. ^ Denvir, Daniel (September 8, 2016). "Nina Turner: Reflections on the political revolution's past and future". Salon. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  24. ^ "Nina Turner: I'm endorsing Dems, not an individual". The Alliance Review. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  25. ^ "DNC Unity Reform Commission, Day 2, Part 1". December 9, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Dovere, Edward-Isaac (May 21, 2018). "Bernie's army in disarray". Politico. Archived from the original on December 18, 2019.
  27. ^ Perticone, Joe (February 21, 2019). "Bernie Sanders announces new national co-chairs: Our Revolution President and former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, Rep. Ro Khanna, San Juan Puerto Rico Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz and Ben & Jerry's co-founder Ben Cohen". @JoePerticone. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  28. ^ "Nina Turner: Bernie Sanders 'running for the people'".
  29. ^ "Full Turner: Voters should pick Senator Sanders because he is 'consistent'".
  30. ^ "Nina Turner: Racism in DNA of United States - CNN Video". February 10, 2019 – via
  31. ^ "Nina Turner on Bernie Sanders' support among African Americans".
  32. ^ The original "bowl of shit" remark can be found at "How Trump Could Win Reelection". The Atlantic. July 27, 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2021. Following coverage, in chronological order:
  33. ^ Walsh, Joan (June 28, 2021). "Nina Turner Is Running to Join the Squad". The Nation. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
  34. ^ Meyer, Theodoric (September 22, 2020). "Airlines mount a last stand". POLITICO. Retrieved November 2, 2020.
  35. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (July 1, 2013). "Nina Turner announces bid for Ohio secretary of state; Democrat hopes to unseat Jon Husted". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  36. ^ Sanner, Ann (September 18, 2014). "Bill Clinton backs Nina Turner for Secretary of State". The News-Herald. Associated Press. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  37. ^ Jeremy, Pelzer (November 5, 2014). "Jon Husted wins Ohio Secretary of State race". Cleveland Plain Dealer. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  38. ^ "2021 OFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS". Ohio Secretary of State. Archived from the original on September 7, 2021. Retrieved September 6, 2021.
  39. ^ Richardson, Seth A. (September 27, 2021). "Nina Turner files FEC paperwork hinting at 2022 congressional rematch with Shontel Brown". The Plain Dealer. MSN. Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  40. ^ Gomez, Henry (January 26, 2022). "Bernie Sanders ally Nina Turner seeks rematch with Rep. Shontel Brown in Ohio". NBC News. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  41. ^ Vogt, Adrienne; Sangal, Aditi; Chowdhury, Maureen; Macaya, Melissa; Lee, JiMin; Wagner, Meg; Hayes, Mike (May 3, 2022). "CNN projection: Rep. Shontel Brown will win Democratic primary in Ohio's 11th district". CNN. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  42. ^ Kennedy, Kelly (May 4, 2022). "Representative Shontel Brown wins congressional democratic nomination in a landslide victory". Cleveland 19. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  43. ^ "How Nina Turner Lost Her Election". HuffPost. August 14, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  44. ^ "Nina Turner, Aiming to 'Grow the Squad,' Endorsed by Ohio's Largest Paper". Newsweek. July 4, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  45. ^ "Ohio Election Tests The Left's Strength In Establishment Stronghold". HuffPost. February 16, 2021. Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  46. ^ Larkin, Brent (May 9, 2021). "Turning Nina Turner's own words against her is just a tactic, but one she needs to address". Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  47. ^ "Issues | Nina Turner for Congress". Retrieved October 4, 2022.
  48. ^ Thakker, Prem (October 4, 2023). "Nina Turner Launches Organization to Support Striking Workers". The Intercept. Retrieved October 6, 2023.
  49. ^ Turner, Nina [@ninaturner] (October 4, 2023). "⚡️Today, I'm proud to announce We Are Somebody, a capacity building organization for the working class. We aim to serve as a bridge between those who support unions and the workers who are putting their livelihoods on the line and demanding better from their employers. Join Us:" (Tweet). Retrieved October 5, 2023 – via Twitter.
  50. ^ "Premiere of the Nina Turner Show with Bernie Sanders". The Real News. June 12, 2017. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  51. ^ Drum, Nicole (January 17, 2018). "'Black Lightning' Series Premiere Featured Real-Life Activists".
  52. ^ @TheYoungTurks (September 14, 2021). "Did you hear the news? @ninaturner and @DavidShuster are joining TYT's lineup of hosts!" (Tweet). Retrieved December 12, 2021 – via Twitter.
  53. ^ "2021 OFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS". November 2, 2021. Archived from the original on September 7, 2021. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  54. ^ Eaton, Sabrina (July 5, 2019). "Cleveland's Nina Turner 'people raises' for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders". The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  55. ^ O'Connor, Kevin (July 2, 2018). "Nina Turner Fuels the Bern in Vermont Visit". Bennington Banner. Retrieved January 31, 2020.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Democratic nominee for Ohio Secretary of State
Succeeded by
Civic offices
Preceded by
Joe Jones
Member of the Cleveland City Council
from Ward 1

Succeeded by
Terrell Pruitt
Ohio Senate
Preceded by Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 25th district

Succeeded by