Former Mayor Willie Herenton -- frustrated, as he claimed, at the collapse of a planned meeting concerning debate possibilities with incumbent Steve Cohen, his opponent in the 9th District, congressional primary, held an impromptu press conference in front of Cohen’s campaign headquarters Friday to “respectfully call Steve Cohen out.”
Herenton contended that Cohen, who was apparently still in D.C., had backed out of the meeting, which was to have been held, he said, earlier Friday morning, involving the two campaigns and representatives of TV stations and other organizations wishing to scheduled congressional debates.
The mayor said he had a “signed agreement” with WMC-TV, Action News 5, and WHBQ-TV, Channel 13, to debate Cohen, and he maintained he was ready to debate as well on WREG-TV, News Channel 3, though he continued to insist he would not do so if Channel3’s Norm Brewer and Commercial Appeal editor Otis Sanford took part.
Herenton had opted out of a planned Channel 3 debate two weeks ago, claiming bias on the part of the station’s scheduled panelists. “ I burst their bubble real good. They were looking forward to it,” Herenton said at his press conference. “Neither one of those individuals will ever have the opportunity to ask me a question.”
A Cohen spokesperson said the congressman had never agreed to a meeting on Friday and repeated that Cohen would abide by the original debate plans with Channel 3 as the host and would not agree to other debate formats.
For more details, see also Jackson Baker's account in Political Beat.