Election 2008

Rep. Steven Cohen

KKK Imagery, Offshore Drilling May Have Tilted Tennessee Primaries

August 08, 2008 12:44 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A look at how two congressional primaries—one Republican and one Democrat—went Thursday in Tennessee

Cohen Wins, Roe Defeats Davis

In Tennessee, one incumbent congressman survived a primary challenge despite racial attacks while another was defeated after being linked to offshore drilling.

Rep. Steve Cohen, who is running for his second term, defeated Nikki Tinker. During the campaign Tinker ran a television commercial criticizing Cohen’s lack of support for removing a Confederate leader’s statue, according to The Washington Post. The ad included a burning cross and a Klan leader.

Cohen received 79 percent of the vote in the mostly black district in Memphis. Tinker, who is black, ran against Cohen in 2006.

“Memphis, Tennessee has shown CNN and The New York Times and MSNBC and everyone else that we are united, we are moving forward and we are a bellwether for what is going to happen in America when Barack Obama is elected president,” Cohen said, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal.
Warner Todd Huston, at the blog Stop the ACLU, said he’s no Cohen supporter, but is glad Cohen won. “It is still good news that the hatemongering, racism, and sexist attacks that Tinker foisted on Memphis lost her this election. Any day that such tactics can be defeated is a good day.”
Writers at the site Irregular Times say the Davis race should make the GOP stop and think. Davis, they say, lost the Republican primary because he supported offshore drilling. The author, listed as ‘jclifford,’ says: “Imagine how strong the opposition to offshore drilling among Democratic voters in Tennessee must be.”

The Republican primary winner will likely win the general election. In the rural district on the North Carolina border, voters have consistently elected Republicans to Congress for a century.

Roe v. Davis

At the other end of the state, Phil Roe appeared to defeat incumbent Rep. David Davis in the first congressional district’s Republican primary. Roe had 500 more votes, of more than 50,000 cast, according to the Johnson City Press.

“Six weeks ago, nobody gave us a chance, but it looks like tonight we are going to make history,” Roe told the Press.

Roe accused Davis of taking money from oil-industry PACs and supporting offshore oil drilling. Davis denied the charge and said Roe was using deception in his campaign, according to the Associated Press.

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