House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn hopes to do the same for Shontel Brown that he did for then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the run up to South Carolina’s primary election: help her win.
The Columbia Democrat confirmed he’s headed to Ohio sometime this weekend to campaign for Cuyahoga County Councilwoman Brown in her congressional challenge against former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, a 2020 campaign surrogate for then-candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, in an Aug. 3 primary that’s been described as a test for progressives.
Clyburn told The State on Monday he’ll do anything to help the campaign after he endorsed Brown in June to succeed former U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge — a Clyburn ally — who vacated the seat to become President Biden’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
“I personally got involved ... when I was invited by the Turner campaign,” Clyburn said. “(They) talked about my stupidity for endorsing Joe Biden, and I just kind of decided if I’m going to be stupid, might as well be stupid.”
Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House, was referring to a comment made in June by Turner supporter rapper Killer Mike, in which he suggested Clyburn should have gotten more out of his endorsement of Biden — credited with what ultimately gave Biden the bump he needed to clinch the first-in-the-South primary and, eventually, the nomination.
“I think it’s incredibly stupid to not cut a deal before you get someone elected president, and the only thing you get is a federal holiday and nothing tangible out of it,” he said, reported the New York Times.
Turner added in support, the newspaper reported, “You better talk about it.”
Clyburn said he’s not spoken to Turner since.
“I want to make it very clear what I think is necessary for us to be successful in these elections, and I’ve made it very clear that all of this slogan, headline seeking doesn’t do the future of our party or our country any good,” Clyburn said.
Clyburn has said as much in donation requests for Brown.
Last week, he blasted out a fundraising email for Brown saying she will not “burn bridges by insulting the president and criticizing other Democrats. She will build bridges and get things done for Northeast Ohio.”
Turner will be turning out her own high-profile backers ahead of the election.
A spokeswoman tweeted Monday that Minnesota’s Attorney General Keith Ellison, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri and Sanders will join Turner Saturday for a voter rally and march to the polls. Another notable surrogate, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, tweeted out her own fundraising plea to voters a few days earlier.
“Something I can add, whether mainline Democrats get this or not, is I can speak the language of people from all walks of life,” Turner said in an interview with the Associated Press. ”That is important for the expansion of the Democratic Party.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.