Commentary: Focus On Two Candidates Is Not Good For 11th Congressional District!



On August 3 voters of Ohio’s 11th Congressional District will select both a Democratic and Republican nominee to fill the seat recently vacated by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.  The two candidates will then face off in the November general election.

Two candidates appear to lead the field — County Councilperson Shontel Brown and former State Senator and Bernie Sanders supporter Nina Turner, if your only source of information is TV ads.

In what appears to have evolved into a down and dirty campaign, Nina attacks Shontel and Shontel attacks Nina.  Shontel  has an ad with her mother and another with  Marcia Fudge’s mother. Nina proudly holds her grandson as she asks for your vote. Not to be outdone, Shontel has the son of the late Stephanie Tubbs Jones, saying  that if his mother were alive, she would endorse Shontel — a new angle of the proverbial graveyard ballots.

Considering the demographics and past voting records of the district, who ever wins the Democratic primary can start looking for housing in DC. That is why it is important for voters to make the right choice. And it’s important to know that there are other choices — eleven additional to be exact.

Listed alphabetically  the entire slate of candidates looks like this: Martin Alexander, John E. Barnes, Jr., James Jerome Bell, Shontel Brown, Seth J. Corey, Jeff Johnson, Will Knight, Pamela M. Pinkney, Isaac Powell, Lateek Shabazz ,Tariq K. Shabazz, Shirley Smith, and Nina Turner.

While many are newcomers to the world of politics, candidates, John E. Barnes, Jr., Jeff Johnson, and Shirley Smith have all served in the state legislature. Johnson, a lawyer by profession,  also served on Cleveland City Council. In addition to their legislative service, all three bring a wide range of governmental and professional  experiences and deserve a consideration by the voters.

The field also includes Seth Corey, a physician; Will Knight a Shaker Highschool coach, East Cleveland activist Lateek Shabazz, Navy Veteran Tariq Shabazz and other candidates who all bring unique skills and perspectives to the race that should not be overlooked.

For those casting a Republican primary ballot, perennial candidate Lavern Gore is unopposed and will face the Democratic nominee in the November election.

I am not  endorsing any candidate. What I am saying is, it is important that every citizen of the 11th Congressional District cast an intelligent vote. In a democracy everyone has the right to run and to be considered.

Fortunately for Turner and Brown, they have well-financed campaigns that allow them to flood the airways with commercials and your mailbox with mailings. Campaign finance reports show that much of their money comes from outside of the district. Brown even has an ad featuring South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn, who obviously does not live in the 11th Congressional District.  For my two cents, Clyburn should spend more time trying to oust Senator Lindsey Graham from his own state than concerning himself about Ohio politics.

The choice in this race is up to the citizens of the 11th congressional district. They should make the choice not outside interests.  Consider all the candidates and then go to the polls.

C. Ellen Connally is a retired judge of the Cleveland Municipal Court. From 2010 to 2014 she served as the President of the Cuyahoga County Council. An avid reader and student of American history, she serves on the Board of the Ohio History Connection, is currently vice president of the Cuyahoga County Soldiers and Sailors Monument Commission and president of the Cleveland Civil War Round Table. She holds degrees from BGSU, CSU and is all but dissertation for a PhD from the University of Akron.

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