Last week’s Democratic National Convention brought new questions about unity for that party and nationwide attention for an outspoken former state senator from Cleveland.
Nina Turner was on the convention floor in Philadelphia early last week as an elected delegate for Bernie Sanders. She’d become known as a vocal Sanders surrogate. And that night, I asked her if she would be endorsing Hillary Clinton.
“You know, for me, this is really about the people. And it’s about Sen. Sanders’ people. And right now I’m concentrating on that. I just need to get through this week, Karen, and you can ask me that question after this week. Let a sister get through this week," she answered.
By the end of that week, she’d become a celebrity among some of the “Bernie or Bust” crowd, who wanted to see her with a bigger role in the party. And then the Green Party came courting Turner.
“It’s not every day, Karen, that somebody calls you and says, ‘Hey, would you like to be my vice president?’ Certainly honored that Dr. Jill Stein would call me and see that in me.”
Turner turned down the Green Partyand says she’s now focused on the reasons why she’s been a lifelong Democrat. She says that’s not something she’s giving up on. But Turner says she’s taken heat for her public positions in the last week.
“Certainly the road that I’m traveling is not the most popular road. But I do what I think is right, no matter what. And certainly I have received lots of blow back for doing what I think is right. But at the end of the day, I answer to God and my family and the people that I’m fighting for.
"So let the chips fall where they may, basically, on that kind of stuff. It would be very disappointing if my party decided to rise up against me just because I challenged it,” she said.
Turner says now she want to work with what she calls the most progressive Democratic Party platform in recent history. And she says she’s also keeping her options open for 2018, when all five statewide executive offices will be open, including secretary of state, which she ran for and lost in 2014.