Cohen Wins Racially Charged Primary in Tennessee
Running for re-election, Representative Steven Cohen, who is a white Jewish male, was opposed by Nikki Tinker, a black Christian female, in a district that has a majority of African-American Christians.
These detailed descriptions of the candidates and the district are important because
Tinker, who is black, sought to make Cohen’s race and religion (he’s Jewish) a central part of her candidacy, airing two ads in the final week questioning his racial tolerance and religious convictions.
One ad featured Cohen alongside a hooded Klansman, criticizing him for voting against removing a statue of Klan founder Nathaniel Bedford Forrest from a local park.
Also, Ms. Tinker's pastor
a Tinker supporter and a minister distributed literature in the district saying that "Cohen and the Jews HATE Jesus" and urging the defeat of an "opponent of Christ and Christianity." Similar fliers from the same minister have circulated in the past few weeks.
the feminist group EMILY’s List, called the ads “offensive and divisive.” Barack Obama also waded into the primary, calling her campaign tactics “incendiary.”
"These incendiary and personal attacks have no place in our politics, and will do nothing to help the good people of Tennessee. It's time to turn the page on a politics driven by negativity and division so that we can come together to lift up our communities and our country"
received 18.58 percent of vote, more than six points fewer than the 25 percent she received in 2006.