Steve Cohen to Draw Primary Opponent in Tennessee
Posted at 10:28 a.m. on March 6
Cohen faces another primary challenge this cycle. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., will face yet another primary in the 9th District in 2014.
Ricky Wilkins, an African-American attorney with the ability to self-fund a campaign, is likely to wage a primary bid against Cohen in this majority-minority district based in Memphis, according to a source with knowledge of Wilkins’ plans.
First elected in 2006, Cohen has faced primary opposition from African-American candidates each year. Cohen has been able to win those primary battles by large margins.
But Democratic strategists said Wilkins has the ability to self-fund his campaign. Democratic operatives add that Cohen’s recent behavior makes the four-term congressman uniquely vulnerable in 2014.
During the 2013 State of the Union, Cohen tweeted and then deleted, “Happy Valentines beautiful girl. ilu” at a 24-year-old woman.
At the time, Cohen said the woman was a daughter he had recently discovered, but the woman later turned out to not have blood relation to the congressman.
In April that same year, Cohen tweeted at singer Cyndi Lauper after a performance at the White House.
“CyndiLauper great night,couldn’t believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness,” Cohen tweeted and then deleted.
He later said the tweet was his attempt gain media attention for the event and promote the performance.
Candidates have until April 3 to file the necessary paperwork to run. A primary will be held Aug. 7.
Whomever emerges from the Democratic primary will win this seat in November. President Barack Obama won here in 2012 by a 58-point margin.
Tennessee’s 9th District is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.