Harold Ford, Sr. picks a side in the 9th District race

By Jason Miles - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - In an exclusive interview with Action News 5, former 9th District congressman Harold Ford, Sr. told us the status quo is the way to go.

"I served for 22 years," said Ford.  "I know what it takes to be a great congressman.  I'm convinced that Steve Cohen's been absolutely a great congressman.  I mean, Steve has been extremely responsive to the people of the 9th Congressional District."

Ford's endorsement of Steve Cohen is no surprise given his contentious relationship with opponent Willie Herenton.  Ford supported Herenton during his initial run for Memphis mayor in 1991.

"This is not about Cohen's opponent at all," Ford said.  "This is about the work and service Steve Cohen has provided us."

Ford did not want to dwell on the Herenton's claim that the 9th District would be better served by an African-American congressman. 

"The Fords in general and Willie Herenton have been arch rivals for many, many years," said Memphis Flyer political analyst Jackson Baker.

While a Herenton campaign brushed off Cohen's latest endorsement, Baker said their cumulative effect may be overwhelming.

"Herenton has got himself in a corner," said Baker.  "Anybody who's ever been opposed to him is opposed to him big time."

Baker said that could make a big difference come election day.

Ford and Cohen have not always been on the same page.  Cohen actually ran against Harold Ford, Jr. In 1996 when Ford, Sr. decided not to seek reelection to congress.

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