The national Black Lives Matter network is pushing back against a local Ohio group that aligns itself with the movement yet has endorsed Republican Rob Portman in his competitive reelection bid in Ohio.
Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County announced Friday that it was formally backing Portman in his Senate race. But the Cuyahoga group is “not an official chapter of our BLM network,” Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the national Black Lives Matter network, said Friday. A spokesperson added that Black Lives Matter Cleveland is the only official chapter in Ohio, and that it had not endorsed Portman.
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“This report is incorrect. Black Lives Matter Cleveland is the group’s local organization in the area,” added David Bergstein, the campaign spokesman for Ted Strickland, Portman’s Democratic challenger. “Ted has a strong record of fighting for Ohio’s African-American communities and working families, and will continue to do so in the Senate.”
In its endorsement statement, Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County, led by Jeff Mixon, criticized Strickland’s management of the state’s finances when he was Ohio governor. Mixon sits on the county Democratic Party’s executive committee, and his group endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton back in February. He did not immediately return a request seeking comment about the status of his organization with the national Black Lives Matter movement.
“In the current atmosphere of identity politics, BLMCC understands that endorsing even a well-qualified Republican such as Portman seems controversial; despite the fact that it was minorities who suffered the brunt of Ted Strickland’s gross financial mismanagement,” Mixon said in the Friday statement.
The Cuyahoga group also praised Portman and how he shepherded a significant anti-opioid measure into law this month. Portman has also been endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, a …