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“Shocked, Embarrassed, Outraged, Betrayed” Pastors Stand Against Negative Campaign

Louis Stokes never ran a negative campaign!!! Stephanie Tubbs Jones never ran a negative campaign!!! Marcia Fudge never ran a negative campaign!!!

In a historical moment when the 11th Congressional District of Ohio is without representation, the campaign for the office has taken a negative turn, which is turning the heads of voters and elected officials alike. The campaign, which will hopefully reflect the authority of its former office holders, Louis Stokes, Stephanie Tubbs Jones and now Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge is seeing negative campaigning that has never resulted before in this race.

This week, more than a dozen local clergy, union and community leaders convened at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church to call for unity and stand against misrepresentations portrayed by Nina Turner and her campaign after last week's slew of attack ads aimed to undermine the credibility and leadership of one of the OH-11 Congressional District race frontrunners, Shontel Brown.

After recent polling numbers announced the race as a toss-up and Brown surging, Turner released a new set of attack ads that read as an attempt to salvage the race and perpetuate the divisiveness she created amongst Democratic leaders in the past, including 2016 Presidential-nominee Hillary Clinton and President Biden.

Dr. Marvin McMickle, Pastor Emeritus and now Interim Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church and former President of Colgate Rochester University spoke as the pastors surrounded him and he forcefully answered questions and stated the history of the Congressional representatives who have held office in the past and compared them to those who were running for the present office. “When Louis Stokes was running for Congress he never placed a negative campaign. When Stephanie Tubbs Jones was running, there was never a negative campaign. When Marcia Fudge was running, there was never a negative campaign. Now we have individuals running negative campaigns and much of what is stated is untruth. Run on your record. Run on what you have done. There is no need to demean the reputation of an individual if you are doing something that deserves the attention of those whom you desire to represent”, stated Dr. McMickle.

When questioned about negative campaigning which was being aired and him commenting on those who were delivering them he stated, “Check the record. It is one thing for an outside source to have a commercial and say something, which you have done, and it is true. That is politics. It is another thing for you to endorse something that is publicized and you know it is not true. That is wrong.” “If you’ve got a record to run on, run on your record, but if you think your record is not enough and you have to revert to the politics of self-destruction then that speaks more to you than your opponent,” said Dr. Marvin McMickle.

Pastors from across the city, and from different denominations, attended the Mt. Olive Baptist Church to stand against the negative campaigning calling out the Nina Turner campaign and to state that commercials were not telling the truth. The President of Cuyahoga County Council, President Pernel Jones, was also present along with Councilwoman Sunny Simon to voice their concerns at a time when questions about the county process of operations were questioned in the commercials. “We have worked aggressively to ensure that certain stipulations and rules and regulations have been put in place so that no one councilperson will be a part of a corrupt and nepotistic system which will endanger the entire council and the operations of the county. To say differently is not true at all”, stated President Jones.

Brian Peters from the Shontel Brown for Congress campaign released the following statement in regards to the attack ads:

"These false negative ads from the Nina Turner campaign are a desperate attempt to distract from the fact this race is slipping away from her. Nina has spent her career attacking other Democrats and appears more interested in going after President Biden, former President Obama, and Vice President Kamala Harris than the Republicans."

Clergy and community leaders agree that, ultimately, Turner controls the propaganda and harmful misinformation coming from her campaign and urged her to refrain from polarizing Ohio's largest Democratic county with the same divisive rhetoric that weakened the party during the 2016 presidential election.

"We know that Shontel stands with increasing the minimum wage, and we are offended that Nina endorsed that bold lie and others. Shontel has always stood with working families in Northeast Ohio, and that will always be her priority," said Rev. Larry Harris, President of the Mt. Pleasant Minister’s Alliance.

Speakers explained they know Brown's history of delivering for the community and the region and know her faith would never align with the lies in the attack ads.

In addition to strong polling numbers, in the last few weeks, Brown added additional endorsements to her rapidly growing list from top congressional leaders, unions, and Political Action Committees, including the Majority Whip Rep. Jim Clyburn, American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 31 which represents the employees of the Northeast Ohio VA Healthcare System, and Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBC PAC) in Washington.

The Pastors who were present were supportive of candidate Shontel Brown in her race for the 11th Congressional seat. Norm Edwards, President of the Black Construction Trades was also present to voice his concern and support for Shontel Brown and the negative campaigning that has gone forth.

The group of leaders called for Turner to take down her negative ads lying about Brown immediately and remedy the misrepresentations and distortions created by Turner and her team to mislead voters and show politics at its worst.

The race for the Congressional seat to determine the democratic and republican candidates will be held on Tuesday, August 3, 2021. Early voting for the 11th Congressional District race has begun, and voters can visit the Cuyahoga County and Summit County Board of Election to vote in person before Tuesday, August 3, 2021. Polls will be open from 6:30 AM – 7:30 PM on Election Day. The final result to determine the congressional representative will be November 2, 2021.

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