State Sen. Nina Turner (D., Cleveland) highlighted the legal battles over early voting in the 2012 election during her announcement today that she would seek the Democratic nomination for Ohio secretary of state in 2014.
She kicked off her campaign in Cleveland today and then made her second campaign declaration at the Teamsters Local 20 hall in Toledo.
Ms. Turner will likely face incumbent Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted.
She blasted Ohio's voting system under Mr. Husted, saying the 2012 elections were characterized by long lines and confusion.
"Access to electing people who care about working mothers, who care about working fathers, who care about our children, starts at the secretary of state's office. Some folks want us to forget what happened and they want us to think that we lost our minds. But I declare to you what we saw in 2012 in Ohio was not only wrong but immoral," Ms. Turner told a small crowd of supporters who turned out.
And she alluded to the fight to allow early voting on the last three days before last year's presidential election.
"The current Secretary of State appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to take away the last three days of early voting," Ms. Turner said.
In October, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block a lower federal court ruling requiring the state to keep its doors open during the last three days before the Nov. 6 election for in-person early voting. The ruling came on a lawsuit brought by President Obama's re-election campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and other Democrats who argued that it was unconstitutional to allow military personnel and their families, but not others, to vote during those three days.
Ms. Turner was joined at her Cleveland announcement by state Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern, evidence that she enjoys the backing of the party leadership. Standing with her in Toledo were Lucas County Auditor and mayoral candidate Anita Lopez, state Sen. Edna Brown (D., Toledo), and state Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo), along with George Tucker, executive secretary of the Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO, and Mark Sobczak, vice president of Local 20.
Ms. Turner said after the announcement that she expects she will need $3 million to $5 million to run a competitive campaign.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges defended Mr. Husted, saying he "cleaned up Ohio's voter rolls and has made it easier for American servicemen and women to vote."
"After establishing a Web site to encourage herself to run for secretary of state, liberal Nina Turner's announcement was not surprising. Her radical policies and rhetoric contrast greatly with Secretary of State Jon Husted's common-sense conservatism," Mr. Borges said.
Senator Turner, 45, was elected to Cleveland City Council in 2005, becoming the first African-American woman to represent Ward 1, and was appointed to the state Senate in 2008. She was elected to the seat unopposed in 2010. Ms. Turner is a frequent guest on MSNBC political affairs programs.
Ms. Turner's mother died when she was young and she started working at 14 to help the family, in which she was oldest of seven children, according to her biography. Ms. Turner received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Cleveland State University and got a job after college as a legislative aide in the Ohio Statehouse in 2001. She and her husband, Jeffery Turner Sr., have a son, Jeffery Jr., who is a lieutenant in the Ohio National Guard military police.
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