Eric Brewer running for seat in Ohio’s 11th district as a Republican

A lifelong Democrat, Brewer won the GOP nomination in the May primary and will face incumbent Representative Shontel Brown in the general election.

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Eric J. Brewer spent four years as mayor of East Cleveland from 2006 to 2009, and during that time he says he was “the only mayor for four years to keep the city out of budget emergency”.

Brewer also takes credit for helping reform the dysfunctional police and fire departments, but was unable to win a second term.

“I was not re-elected after the photos were published the day of my father’s death which [were] extracted from my personal computer,” he told 3News in a recent interview.

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Photos showing the then-mayor’s cross-dressing were sent to voters, with Brewer at the time accusing the police force of leaking them (which Chief Scott Gardner denied). Brewer then lost to eventual successor Gary Norton in the primary, but isn’t letting the past shake him.

“I didn’t care then,” Brewer said when asked if he thought voters would hold such photos against him today.

Brewer has since worked to move on from that episode, and as an activist would later play a leading role in the eventual closure of the Noble Road toxic landfill. He tried his luck to run for mayor of Cleveland in 2017, but finished a distant eighth in an 11-person primary.

Now, the Vietnam War veteran has set his sights on Ohio’s 11th congressional district and thinks his chances for the seat are good. Earlier this month, voters gave longtime former Democrat Brewer the Republican nomination, and he will run against incumbent Representative Shontel Brown in the general election.

“I already know that Nina [Turner]’s not going to support Shontel,” Brewer said, alluding to the acrimonious primary campaign between the two Democratic rivals. “I already know that because they called me.”

Brewer says he draws his inspiration from Carl and Louis Stokes, two legendary Democratic politicians who changed the Cleveland area. Despite her history on the left side of the political spectrum, Brewer tells us her heart has always been with the GOP.

“The anti-lynching laws in this state, the freedoms we have here for women to give birth to their children, save children from death, the open record laws, the gun laws we have – to be able to carry guns without all these restrictions – those are American rights,” he said, “and I think the Republican Party better expresses American values.

Still, Brewer has an uphill battle ahead in November, as no Republican has won the geographic seat (whether as District 11 or the long-defunct District 21) since Harry C. Gahn in 1920. Despite the long odds , Brewer thinks those fortunes will change in 2022.

“I’m going to have the party behind me,” he said of the GOP. “I’m also going to have Democrats behind me who know I’m the most qualified candidate.”

The last time a Republican won District 11 in any form was in 1980, when J. William Stanton held the seat that was then based in much of Ashtabula, Geauga, and Lake counties. . Following the latest round of redistricting, the 11th now rests solely in Cuyahoga County and includes all of the cities of Cleveland and East Cleveland within its boundaries.

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