Acknowledging that race will be a theme in next year’s 9th District congressional race, Shelby County Commissioner Sidney Chism, a major backer of Memphis mayor Willie Herenton’s candidacy, seemed to concede that the 68-year-old Herenton might be a short-term congressman if successful against incumbent Steve Cohen in the 2010 Democratic primary.
“It’s an African-American seat,” Chism told the Flyer in the course of a weekend interview, “and if he just serves one term, it will re-establish the pattern. And after that there won’t be any nine or ten [black] candidates running.”
Chism expressed confidence in a Herenton victory and discounted a recent poll by Berge Yacoubian showing Cohen with a healthy lead. “He’s never had Herenton winning, in any election,” said Chism, who contended further, “All the mayor has to do to win is keep the support he already has. He doesn’t need anybody new.”