LaSimba Gray to Congressional Black Caucus: "Stay Out" of 9th District Race 

According to Roll Call, a Washington, D.C. publication for political insiders, the Rev. LaSimba Gray is asking members of the Congressional Black Caucus to "stay out" of the 2008 Democratic primary race pitting incumbent 9th District congressman Steve Cohen against repeat challenger Nikki Tinker.


Noting an appearance in Memphis last weekend on Cohen's behalf by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City, who is black, Gray said, according to the newspaper, ""Steve Cohen has been quoting many of them heavily and bringing them into the district and we are simply asking them to stay out of this race."


Gray strove unsuccessfully during the 2006 congressional race to winnow down a large field of African-American candidates to a consensus black candidate to oppose Cohen, who, as the minister noted, is both white and Jewish.


Roll Call quoted Gray as contending that the second-place finish in last year's primary of Tinker, a corporate attorney, meant that "she has won ... the primary of African-American candidates." Gray said further, "The road has been cleared for Nikki and we are busy meeting with candidates who ran last time to show them the reality -- the fact that with all of them in the race they can't win."


Gray's concept of a black-versus-white showdown was frowned on by Cleaver spokesman Danny Rotert, who remarked that Cohen seemed to stand high in the estimate of his constituents and observed, "If somebody here [Kansas City] said Congressman Cleaver can't represent his district because it's a [majority] white district, that would not go very far. So it's too bad that that's the rhetoric that's being used in Memphis."


As of the last Federal Election Commission filing, Roll Call noted, Tinker had $172,000 in cash on hand compared to Cohen's $374,000. As the periodical also observed, the feminist organization Emily's List, which supported Tinker strongly in 2006, has so far been non-committal about 2008.


A number of Tinker's former Memphis supporters have also indicated they will not be backing her in next year's race. One such, lawyer Laura Hine, said she had committed to Tinker in 2006 before Cohen made his candidacy known. Affirming her support for Cohen in next year's race, Hine said recently, "The fact is, he's been a very effective congressman, speaking to all the issues I care about."


One such issue, according to Hine, was pending federal Hate Crimes legislation, which Cohen has backed and Tinker has been silent about. Rev. Gray recently made an effort to organize opposition to Cohen's stand among black ministers, on the ground that the bill would muzzle their opposition to homosexuality.

Other local African-American ministers, like the Rev. Ralph White and the Rev. O.C. Collins Jr., have refuted that allegation, citing specific sections of the bill, and made a point of supporting Cohen. The Memphis chapter of the NAACP also recently affirmed its support of the bill and Cohen's activities on its behalf.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Blogs

News Blog

Memphis Pets of the Week (August 16-22)

News Blog

REI Opens Next Friday

News Blog

Stat: Gun Crimes in Shelby County

News Blog

State Review of School Security Nearly Complete

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

This Week At The Cinema: The Good, The Bad, and The Anime

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

Music Video Monday: Aaron James

ADVERTISEMENT

More by Jackson Baker

Readers also liked…

  • The Buddy System

    Harris and Kelsey hope to effect a good public outcome on the TVA/aquifer issue.
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Cohen Tells It!

    In which Memphis’ Democratic congressman Steve Cohen, addressing an apparent GOP effort to muddy the waters on the Russian inquiry, not only takes no crap but gives it back where it came from. This is worth watching from beginning to end -- even for those who might disagree on the politics of the matter.
    • Jul 26, 2017
  • In reading the May 1st election totals, it depends on what your eyes are letting you see.

    Dissenters to "blue wave" theory rely on 2014 Lutrell-Lunati baseline to make cases for GOP having better bounce th9s year.
    • May 10, 2018
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation