9th Congressional District candidates campaign across Memphis

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Not only do 9th Congressional District candidates, incumbent Steve Cohen and former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, have a different approach to the issues, they had a different approach to campaigning across Memphis Saturday.

"This district was drawn to elect a Democrat," Cohen said as he spent part of his day speaking to some of the Democratic party's most powerful women to commemorate the 90th anniversary of women's suffrage.

Herenton hit Whitehaven with a caravan of supporters.  Loud speakers blared and signs waved.

"We're excited," Herenton said.  "Are you all excited?"

On the heels of an appearance at the Memphis Humane Society, Cohen made a dig at his opponent who responded to reporters last month about poor conditions at the Memphis Animal Shelter when he was mayor by asking "who gives a damn about those peripheral issues?"

"Frankly, I give a damn about animals," Cohen said.

Herenton said he was a dog owner and the media took his comment out of context.

"I love animals," Herenton said, "but in the context of discussing national issues, I felt to zero in on a management issue regarding two units of city government was not germane to the issues facing America."

Cohen responded to Herenton's slogan, "Just One," meaning the district lines were originally drawn for African American representation.

"It's not to choose a particular color.  That is antithetical to everything America stands for, what Dr. King stood for," Cohen said.  "The voters have a right to choose the candidate of their choice."

While Cohen called the slogan outdated, Herenton said representation is the hallmark of democracy.

"I just know more about the urban dilemma and what the constituency in this district needs and I can be a better representative," Herenton said.  "It's just that simple."

Cohen added that Herenton's "Just One" stance did not seem to matter when Harold Ford, Jr. was running against Bob Corker for Senate.

"He said he supported Bob Corker," Cohen said.

Herenton said, unlike Congress, mayorships are nonpartisan for the good of the city.

"I had a great relationship with Lamar Alexander, a great relationship with Corker, a great relationship with Senator Frist, Senator Sasser when he was there," Herenton said.  "I had a great relationship with anybody who would work with me to help Memphis."

Both candidates said jobs are a focal point of their campaigns.

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