Tinker will challenge Cohen again for 9th District seat - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Tinker will challenge Cohen again for 9th District seat

Nikki Tinker Nikki Tinker

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Memphis attorney Nikki Tinker will again challenge U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, Memphis' first white congressman in over three decades, for the 9th Congressional district seat.

According to The Commercial Appeal, Tinker announced Saturday she will run against Cohen in the Democratic primary.

"We are in a stagnated place," Tinker said after her announcement. "Change is in the air. What they're talking about in presidential politics is what I want to bring in Memphis."

Tinker, who is black, has disavowed statements by some that Cohen should not be representing a mostly black district. 

She said Saturday that she is running to improve education and increase economic opportunities in her district.

Tinker, who is the general counsel for Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines, said her experiences help her to better relate to the district's residents.

"We get support from across the community," she said. "I'm sitting at this table for everybody."

Cohen has faced criticism from some black preachers, including a minister from Murfreesboro who recently sent a flier to residents in his district urging voters to unite behind "one black Christian" and claiming, "Steve Cohen and the Jews hate Jesus."

But Cohen, who championed minority rights during his 24 years in the state Senate, said he's confident from the responses he's received from individuals and groups such as the NAACP that he will be re-elected.

"There's no place where we think there's a chink in our armor," he said.

Information from: The Commercial Appeal, http://www.commercialappeal.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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