CLEVELAND — Ohio's 11th Congressional District officially has a new representative.
Democrat Shontel Brown has been elected to replace Marcia L. Fudge in Congress, eight months after Fudge left to become U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The Cuyahoga County Councilwoman and chair of the county Democratic Party was considered a massive favorite in the heavily left-leaning district that includes parts of Cleveland and Akron, and earned a huge victory over Republican Laverne Gore.
ELECTION RESULTS: See how Ohio voted in the 2021 general election
"[It is] not lost on me, the magnitude of this responsibility," Brown said in a victory speech Tuesday night. "To whom much is given, much is required."
Brown has been in politics for the last 10 years, first serving on the Warrensville Heights City Council before being elected to Cuyahoga County's 9th district seat in 2014. She considers Fudge one of her mentors, and recorded an ad with Fudge's mother during the primary campaign.
"We need someone who has her character, compassion, and competence," Brown said of Fudge Tuesday. "[She] never sought to make headlines, but always sought to make headway."
The winner of the Democratic primary was considered by most observers to be the eventual winner of the general election, and it quickly became a two-way race between "establishment" candidate Brown and progressive favorite Nina Turner, a former Cleveland City councilwoman and Ohio state senator. Surveys showed Turner with the early lead and the two traded bitter attacks up until the polls closed, but in the end, Brown secured the nomination by a margin of 50%-45%.
With Fudge leaving Congress to serve in President Biden's cabinet, the 11th district seat has been empty since mid-March. While some were hoping Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine would set an earlier date for the special election (perhaps with a May primary), he claimed doing so would’ve been unrealistic in part due to the U.S. Senate’s delay in confirming Fudge as HUD secretary.
Gore acknowledged defeat on Twitter, writing, "We are Americans & must push forward."
Brown is expected to be sworn in some time later this month after the election results are certified. She will serve out the remainder of Fudge’s term, but must run again in 2022 should she want to retain the seat for a full two years.
"If you stick with the people, then the people will stick with you," Brown told her supporters. "I am all about my people, and I am all about making sure that I do this work to make everyone in this room incredibly proud."