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Democratic challenger says Steve Cohen (D, TN-09) too white for district.

(via @BrianFaughnan) Contra the New York Times, there are no racial overtones to this challenge. It’s pretty much the melody line:

The black candidate, former Mayor Willie W. Herenton of Memphis, has argued that Tennessee needs a black voice in its currently all-white delegation. He is running a blistering campaign against Representative Steve Cohen, a fellow Democrat with a precarious hold on the majority black district.

“To know Steve Cohen is to know that he really does not think very much of African-Americans,” Mr. Herenton said in a recent radio interview on KWAM. “He’s played the black community well.”

[snip]

“This seat was set aside for people who look like me,” said Mr. Herenton’s campaign manager, Sidney Chism, a black county commissioner. “It wasn’t set aside for a Jew or a Christian. It was set aside so that blacks could have representation.”

TN-09 being a D+23 district, the Democratic primary race is going to be of special interest – and this is… well. It’s not so much the sentiments as it is the utterly unselfconscious way that they’re being presented. Remember that full and frank discussion of race we were promised? – because I suspect that this is not what people had in mind.

Moe Lane

PS: And one last thing: Steve Cohen did not “consider joining” the Congressional Black Caucus; he was told that he couldn’t join because of his skin color. They’re doing the same thing to Rep. Joseph Cao (R, LA-02), too – although I suspect that changing the ‘R’ to ‘D’ there might have caused them to reconsider.

Crossposted to Moe Lane.

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