Right up to Thursday’s filing date, it looked as though 9th District congressman Steve Cohen
might get a pass in this election cycle, either unopposed or with insubstantial opposition. The actual threat content of a Justin Ford
candidacy can be debated, but the second-term Shelby County Commissioner is a member of the once powerful and still extant Memphis political clan, and Ford’s eleventh-hour filing on Thursday has to be taken seriously.
An interesting anecdote from the 2006 general election campaign, when Cohen, then the Democratic nominee for an open congressional seat, was faced by an “independent” candidacy from Jake Ford
, brother of outgoing Congressman Harold Ford Jr.
(whom Cohen had faced in the 1996 congressional race) and son of former Congressman Harold Ford Sr.
: Late in the campaign, Cohen was on track to win easily, and he got what he regarded as a feeler from a Ford supporter: Would he participate in a unity meeting with his independent opponent if Ford chose to formally withdraw from campaigning? “No,” said Cohen, a partisan of Tennessee athletic teams. “I want to beat Alabama. This [Jake Ford’s campaign] is a weak team, but it’s still Alabama!”
(It should be said that Cohen, once ensconced in Washington, has had an off-and-on sympatico
relationship with Harold Ford Sr.
, the family patriarch and a legendary lobbyist and political broker.)
Beyond Justin Ford’s challenge, there are two other Democratic filees, both perennials: M. LaTroy Williams
of Memphis and Larry Crim
of Antioch., and assorted unknowns or small fry on the Republican and independent side.
Some key races:
STATE SENATE, DISTRICT 30: Former Senator Beverly Marrero
has filed to run against incumbent Democrat Sara Kyle
, re-igniting both the grudge match she lost in 2012 to former Senator (now Chancellor) Jim Kyle
, Sara Kyle’s husband, in a battle of redistricted incumbents and her loss to Sara Kyle in a vote by the Shelby County Democratic Committee to select a successor to the Judge-elect Jim Kyle. Vernon Johnson Sr.
, a perennial, is also running in the Democratic primary. A sole Republican is Luis Rodriguez
, an unknown.
STATE HOUSE, DISTRICT 95: Incumbent Controversial Republican incumbent Curry Todd
has three Republican opponents — Diane George
, Mark Lovell
, and Dana Matheny.
STATE HOUSE, DISTRICT 96: Incumbent Republican Steve McManus *
has a primary opponent in Price Harris
. Two Democrats —Earl LeFlore
and Dwayne Thompson
— are running.
STATE HOUSE, DISTRICT 85: Democratic incumbent Johnnie Turner
is opposed in the primary by former Memphis Education Association head Keith Williams
and London Lamar
STATE HOUSE, DISTRICT 97: Republican incumbent Jim Coley
is unopposed in his primary; a Democrat, Charley Burch,
is also running.
STATE HOUSE, DISTRICT 90: Democratic incumbent John DeBerry
has a primary opponent in Tami Sawyer