CLEVELAND — The race to replace Marcia Fudge, who was selected as President Joe Biden’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary, in Congress has drawn the attention of many political figures, activists and even celebrities. 

What You Need To Know

  • Nina Turner and Shontel Brown have received a significant number of high-profile endorsements from outside the state of Ohio

  • Associate Professor of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University, Justin Buchler, said some endorsements can sway voters in races like this one

  • Buchler said that special elections usually draw more national attention

Nina Turner has the backing of former presidential candidate and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who Turner served as the national co-chair for during his 2020 run for president. Turner also has the backing of progressive members of congress Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Illhan Omar. 

Recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer also endorsed Turner. 

The race has also brought Hollywood into it, as Turner has endorsements from Danny Glover, Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo. 

While Turner began the race as the front runner, Shontel Brown has begun racking up endorsements herself.

Brown has the endorsement of Hillary Clinton, the first woman to win a major political party’s nomination for president. Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beaty, House Majority WHIP James Clyburn and the Congressional Black Caucus are also backing Brown. 

Brown’s campaign has also released television ads recently featuring Marrian Saffold, Marcia Fudge’s mother, endorsing Brown. Saffold said Fudge can’t endorse in the race, but she can. 

Justin Buchler, Associate Professor of Political Science at Case Western Reserve University, said this can help Brown compete in this race. 

“That does create a more interesting dynamic for her race than it was looking like we were seeing because in a circumstance like congressional primary in an open seat contest, voters don’t know the candidates very well,” said Buchler. “But when you have high profile people making endorsements, that’s what can matter.” 

Buchler said that special elections usually draw more national attention. 

“When we have a special election which happens off-season, that creates the opportunity for national political actors to come in and be a little bit more active and I think that’s what we’re seeing," said Buchler. 

He added that elections normally have cues for voters, such as political party and incumbency. With this being a primary election with no incumbent, endorsements can serve as cues to sway a voter one way or another. 

While he believes an endorsement from a figure like Clinton can make a difference in swaying voters, he does question how effective members of Congress from other states can sway voters in Ohio.