CBC picks Cohen over Herenton


Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) has received a $5,000 donation from the Congressional Black Caucus political action committee, only the latest signal that national African-American leaders are firmly behind the white congressman as he fights back a primary challenge in his black-majority district.

The donation to Cohen’s reelection bid Monday comes slightly more than a week before he and former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton face off Aug. 5 in the Democratic primary.

Herenton, a longtime local pol, has made race a central theme of his campaign by arguing that Tennessee should have at least one African-American member in its delegation and that the two-term representative cannot effectively represent the needs of the district. But the CBC’s contribution is only the latest in a string of high-profile endorsements Cohen has scored over Herenton—including President Obama, former civil rights movement leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and more than a dozen CBC members.

“The CBC PAC’s mission is to increase the number of African-Americans in the U.S. Congress (and) to support non-black candidates who champion CBC interests,” PAC Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) said in his letter that accompanies the check to Cohen. “You have been selected to receive this contribution because of your commitment to the CBC PAC’s goals.”

It’s the first time Cohen has gotten the CBC’s financial backing. After he first won a crowded Democratic primary in 2006, Cohen faced a primary challenge in 2008 from African-American attorney Nikki Tinker, who got a $5,000 donation from the CBC and had the backing of several of its members. But those endorsements would prove irrelevant as Cohen rolled to a 60-point landslide.

In a statement to POLITICO, Cohen said the donation was a recognition of his work on behalf of African-American interests.

“I am grateful and honored that the Congressional Black Caucus PAC has recognized my work with a contribution for my re-election to the United States Congress,” said Cohen. “I am eager to continue building on the strong relationships I’ve built with the Congressional Black Caucus and committed to championing the issues and goals I share with the CBC PAC for the benefit of the 9th Congressional District.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0710/40255.html#ixzz0uzLMnlnt

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