Movers and shakers gather at Cohen fundraiser - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Movers and shakers gather at Cohen fundraiser

By Janice Broach - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Movers and shakers from around the city assembled downtown Tuesday night at a campaign fundraiser for Rep. Steve Cohen, hosted by former Congressman Harold Ford, Senior.

Many of them, like former NAACP head Maxine Smith, were once supporters of Cohen's opponent,  Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton. 

"Because of his record," Smith said. "He has an excellent record."

Smith was diplomatic when talking about Herenton entering the race.

"That's his business," she said. "He's of age. Whatever he wants to be. I just have to be on the Cohen team."

The gathering was a 'who's who' of Memphis - people with money, and a lot of clout.

"I've been a friend of Steve's forever, and a good enough friend to see how well he's doing his job," supporter Henry Turley said.

"I think Steve's done a great job as a congressman, representing his district well," supporter Ron Belz added.

Calvin Anderson, a veteran democratic politico, said he has not talked with Herenton since he announced his plans to run against Cohen.

"It's not a matter of not supporting someone else," Anderson said. "It's a matter of who you're supporting."

And Anderson is supporting Cohen.  At Tuesday's fundraiser, Herenton was like the elephant who was not in the room.  No one wanted to speak negatively about Memphis' outgoing mayor, but most wanted to make it clear Cohen is their man.

Cohen was among those who would not criticize Herenton.

"I run on my record, no matter who my opponent is," he said.

So far, Herenton has not publicly campaigned but Tuesday he told Action News 5's Janice Broach he will take off the gloves when he begins his race in earnest to beat Cohen.

Herenton said he will begin focusing on his campaign against Herenton after he steps down as mayor on July 10.

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