Cohen responds to Herenton's claim he evaded the former mayor - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cohen responds to Herenton's claim he evaded the former mayor

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By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Action News 5 caught up with incumbent Steve Cohen Sunday, one day after his challenger, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, accused him of evading a showdown when the two almost bumped into each other during early voting.

As usual, the candidates came out for early voting Saturday.  The morning became less ordinary when Cohen and his busloads of supporters briefly crossed paths with Herenton and his supporters.  As Cohen was leaving, Herenton was arriving.

The two refused to debate in a public forum, but they came close when the former mayor made a dare to his challenger.  Instead, Cohen's car backed up and drove off.

"Tell him to come out and meet his constituents," Herenton said.  "Come out and meet the people that's going to send me to Washington."

After attending a service at Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church Sunday, Cohen responded to Herenton's claims that he was avoiding him.

"I didn't even know what he was saying," Cohen said.  "I was in the car and I was working on my iPhone, trying to catch up on my messages between meetings and then we left."

He said he thought "Herenton Productions" would have produced a better show.

"There were just two buses," Cohen said.  "There weren't that many people, a lot of them were kids, so it was a bit disappointing - the show.  I didn't even know what he was doing."

Cohen responded to a billboard that says Republican challenger Charlotte Bergmann will "whip" Herenton.

"She's first got to win her primary," Cohen said, "and she's got two opponents."

The winner of the Republican primary goes up against the Democratic primary winner in November.

Cohen said it was a waste of campaign money to put up such a billboard without knowing who Bergmann will be up against until the primary election on August 5.

"It is kind of bizarre that you spend money saying she'll whip Willie Herenton," Cohen said.  "It's very strange."

Cohen said he will be in Washington for most of the campaign dealing with unemployment compensation and jobs bills.

Charlotte Bergmann did not return Action News 5's call for reaction.

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