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Steve Cohen to Draw Primary Opponent in Tennessee

Cohen faces another primary challenge this cycle. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Cohen faces another primary challenge this cycle. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., will face yet another primary in the 9th District in 2014.  

Ricky Wilkins, an African-American attorney with the ability to self-fund a campaign, is likely to wage a primary bid against Cohen in this majority-minority district based in Memphis, according to a source with knowledge of Wilkins’ plans.  

First elected in 2006, Cohen has faced primary opposition from African-American candidates each year . Cohen has been able to win those primary battles by large margins.  

But Democratic strategists said Wilkins has the ability to self-fund his campaign. Democratic operatives add that Cohen’s recent behavior makes the four-term congressman uniquely vulnerable in 2014.  

During the 2013 State of the Union, Cohen tweeted and then deleted, “Happy Valentines beautiful girl. ilu” at a 24-year-old woman.  

At the time, Cohen said the woman was a daughter he had recently discovered , but the woman later turned out to not have blood relation to the congressman.  

In April that same year, Cohen tweeted at singer Cyndi Lauper after a performance at the White House.  

“CyndiLauper great night,couldn’t believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness,” Cohen tweeted and then deleted.  

He later said the tweet was his attempt gain media attention for the event and promote the performance .  

Candidates have until April 3 to file the necessary paperwork to run. A primary will be held Aug. 7.  

Whomever emerges from the Democratic primary will win this seat in November. President Barack Obama won here in 2012 by a 58-point margin.  

Tennessee’s 9th District is rated a Safe Democrat contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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