Cohen surprised, ready for challenge - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Cohen surprised, ready for challenge

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - One day after Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton announced he would form an exploratory committee to look into the possibility of running for Rep. Steve Cohen's Ninth District Congressional seat, Cohen was surprised, but ready for the challenge.

"I was surprised," Cohen said by phone. "Mayor Herenton and I have always had a cordial relationship."

Cohen said he had no idea Herenton was planning to run against him in 2010.

"It did come out of left field," he said. "I think he's always shown nothing but positive feelings toward me.  He told me his mother voted for me last time."

Could Herenton be upset that Cohen did not fully endorse him in 2007?

"We talked about it," Cohen said. "I don't think he should be upset. Herman Morris is a personal friend, and Carol Chumney is a close, political ally for me."

Cohen said he's prepared to defend his seat no matter who he's up against.

"Nobody has ever gotten the 89% we got last fall, or the 79% primary is unparalleled.  So, we believe the 9th District is Cohen country," he said.

Cohen added his role as a lawmaker is different than an executive position like the Herenton's.

"A legislative role is different from an executive," he said. "It's something that I've spent my life doing, and I feel that it's an art.  Between law school and County Commission and 24 years in the Senate and this time I've been in Congress, I have acquired talents and knowledge that are indispensable.  I'm at the top of my game."

Cohen said his focus is the City of Memphis.

"I've already reached out to certain people with the City of Memphis to let them know that I understand the situation they might be in, but that I will work with them, and work with them on issues that are important to the city of Memphis," he said.

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