Tennessee: Harold Ford Sr. to Give Cohen Financial Boost

Posted June 10, 2009 at 6:15pm

Rep. Steve Cohen (D) is bringing some big-name political support to Capitol Hill later this month for a fundraiser for his re-election campaign in the 9th district: Former Rep. Harold Ford Sr. (D) will headline a $500-per-person breakfast at Tortilla Coast on June 24.

Ford represented the 9th district for more than 20 years before being succeeded by his son Harold Ford Jr. (D), and the family name continues to be well-known and highly influential in the Memphis area. Cohen succeeded Ford Jr. in the House when he ran for Senate in 2006.

Ford Sr.’s support is notable because Cohen, who is white, is once again facing a primary challenge from a black politician in the majority-black district. Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton (D) has announced he will challenge Cohen in the primary, which in the overwhelmingly Democratic district is the only election that matters.

Ford’s appearance at the event is all the more interesting because he and Herenton are longtime political foes, although they have enjoyed brief respites over the years. Also, Cohen defeated another son of the elder Ford, Jake, in the 2006 race. Jake Ford ran as an Independent in the open-seat contest and his father, who now lives in Florida, spent time campaigning for him in Memphis. Herenton supported Cohen in that race.