Tennessee: Memphis Mayor Wants to Take on Rep. Cohen

Posted April 22, 2009 at 6:40pm

It appears that Rep. Steve Cohen will have to sweat out another Democratic primary challenge this cycle.

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton announced this week that he is forming an exploratory committee for a possible run in the heavily Democratic Memphis-based 9th district.

The move came as a surprise to Cohen, who said in a release after the announcement that he “had been contacted by neither the Mayor nor any of his associates.—

In his statement Tuesday, Herenton, who is black, said his 30 years of public service have “uniquely prepared me to represent Memphis at the federal level as our national leadership faces some very difficult challenges.—

Cohen won a crowded open-seat primary in 2006 — when he was the only major white candidate in the majority-black district — and went on to handily defeat attorney Nikki Tinker, who is black, in the 2008 primary.

“I believe that the overwhelming margin of victory during my re-election campaign last year showed that the people of the 9th District of Tennessee enthusiastically approve of the job I’ve been doing in Washington, D.C.,— Cohen said in his statement.