Blogged a few weeks ago about Ex Memphis Mayor Willie Henreton’s attempt to knock off incumbent Steve Cohen in a majority black district – Ex Mayor Herenton Plays the Race Card in Tennessee based largely on race.
Tennesse Democrats weren’t buying, and handed Steve Cohen a victory yesterday in a landslide.
The former longtime mayor of Memphis, who unabashedly campaigned for voters to send him to Congress because he is black, was overwhelmingly defeated by the white incumbent in Thursday’s Democratic primary…
Willie Herenton, Memphis’ first black elected mayor, pushed the race angle throughout his campaign for the 9th District House seat, saying he’s more representative of majority-black Memphis than U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, who is white and Jewish. Herenton had said he wanted to diversify Tennessee’s all-white, 11-member congressional delegation. But with 78 percent of precincts reporting, Cohen had 54,897 votes, or 79 percent, to Herenton’s 14,254 or 21 percent.
Cohen said his victory sends a message that “Memphis is a city on the move and not a city of the past.”
Herenton urged his supporters to back Cohen. Before Thursday, the 70-year-old Herenton had never lost a political race and served 4½ terms as mayor before retiring under the cloud of a federal corruption investigation, which now appears to be over. Cohen, a two-term congressman, countered Herenton’s tactics with endorsements from President Barack Obama and Harold Ford Sr., the first black elected to the seat and senior member of a powerful political family.
“I’m the kind of guy that was always the winner. For whatever reason, it was not part of God’s master plan,” Herenton said.
Democrats have held the seat for more than three decades and Cohen will be the heavy favorite to win in November.
In other election news, apparently internet favorite Basil Marceaux, was not able to overcome… a lot of things… as Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam swept the crowded Republican field –
Also Thursday, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam won Tennessee’s Republican gubernatorial nomination after a contentious and expensive 19-month campaign. Haslam, the dominant fundraiser of the race, triumphed over U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp and state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey. With 2 percent of precincts reporting, Haslam had 115,705 votes, or 52 percent, to Wamp’s 59,922 votes, or 27 percent. Ramsey had 43,308 votes, or 20 percent.
State Senate Speaker and Lt Governor Ron Ramsey, whose pronouncement that the Constitutional Guarantee of Religious Freedom doesn’t apply to Muslims roiled the political atmosphere, came in 3rd.