Did political endorsements really matter in 9th congressional district race?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Fresh off his win over Ricky Wilkins in the 9th congressional district Democratic primary, incumbent Steve Cohen said his victory shows Memphis voters have confidence in his work.

“After last night’s results, there are a lot of people who think their congressman is doing a good job,” Cohen said.

Cohen received 66 percent of the vote to Wilkin’s 33 percent. The race had both camps seeking endorsements from unions and other organizations, but do those endorsements still carry the same weight as they did decades ago?

More than a dozen prominent African-American ministers campaigned with Wilkins to unseat Cohen, but without success.

WREG asked Pastor Keith Norman of the NAACP what that said about voting traditions.

Norman just said, “It really has no value after the election.”

The Reverend Dwight Montgomery is the president of the SCLC in Memphis. He supported Cohen and said this race wasn’t about endorsements, color, or voting traditions, but about Cohen’s track record.

“Congressman Cohen has been an effective congressman for all of the community. Dr. King believed in diversity. He believed we shouldn’t judge a person by the color of the skin, but the content of his character,” Montgomery said.

WREG political commentator Otis Sanford said neither candidate really campaigned on race and voters looked at the bigger picture without being influenced by organizations and their endorsements.

“Voters are confident with Steve Cohen. they know his record and reputation and they looked beyond race,”  Sanford said.

“We have to support people who are going to work in the best interest of all people regardless of race, creed or color,” Montgomery said.


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