Herenton takes aim at Cohen in letter - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Herenton takes aim at Cohen in letter

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton
Rep. Steve Cohen Rep. Steve Cohen

By Anna Marie Hartman - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - One week after filing his political papers, Mayor Willie Herenton is taking aim at his opponent in District 9, incumbent Congressman Steve Cohen.

In a letter to the Tri State Defender, Herenton writes, "Our children need to see as many successful African-Americans in positions of leadership as can be achieved."

Herenton says he identifies more keenly with the needs and issues facing the citizens in the 9th Congressional District.

It appears the gloves are off in a battle that Democrats say will drive voters to the polls.  Democratic Party Chair Van Turner says the party won't endorse a candidate until after the primary.

"Without President Obama at the top of the ticket, I think the Herenton Cohen battle hopefully becomes the driving, Turner said.

But in the meantime, he hopes the race won't boil down to race.

"I think it will definitely come up because that's just what happens in political races, but I would not like for that to be the main issue," he said.

But in his letter, Herenton writes "Let's keep it real.  Many citizens will be concerned with race and representation.  There is strength in diversity, but currently the Tennessee Congressional Delegation is not inclusive." 

Herenton calls Cohen's apology for slavery a condescending gesture,and says Cohen's attempt to become a member of the Congressional Black Caucus was an effort to play on the sentiments of an African-American constituency.

"In politics, it's warfare without bloodshed," Turner said.  

And the war has just begun.  But Cohen continues to play it cool, saying as long as he keeps doing the job he's been doing it, doesn't matter who runs against him.

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