More TN Democratic email fallout: Widow gets apology, Cohen wants firings

Longtime Knox County Democratic activist Sylvia Woods says Scott Comer, finance chief of staff for the Democratic National Committee, called her Tuesday to apologize for a “smart-aleck” comment he made about Woods’ dead husband in an email prior to a reception for outgoing DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz here in June.

Further from Georgiana Vines:

Woods said Comer, a 28-year-old Knoxvillian, contacted her after she let Ronald Allen, the DNC’s Southern regional director, know people were reaching out to her in a concerning way about the email, provided by WikiLeaks over the weekend.

Woods and her husband, Harold, long served on Knox County and state Democratic Party committees. Sylvia Woods is on the county board of governors representing a Democratic women’s club and on the state executive committee. She is attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a member of the Platform Committee as a Hillary Clinton supporter and has obtained a floor pass to sit with the Tennessee delegation, she said.

Woods was reached by the News Sentinel as she boarded a bus to travel with the delegation from its hotel site in Valley Forge, Pa., to Philadelphia. She said Comer told her he would meet her at the convention site “and hug your neck just like Tennesseans do.”

The emails regarding the Knoxville reception were written after Sylvia Woods contacted Allen on learning of the event… Allen offered Woods two tickets. Woods told him she would be unable to attend and would appreciate a ticket for (Knox County Democratic Chairman Cameron) Brooks. Woods then mentioned she was using the iPad that had belonged to her husband, who died in 2014,.

… (In an email) Allen wrote to Comer, saying, “All good now and look at my well-crafted response lol! Can the Knox county chair come in her stead?”

“Of course!” Comer answered. “Glad she’s placated and using her dead husbands (sic) iPad.”

Brooks called Comer’s comments “embarrassing and mean.”

Woods agreed.

When Comer called Woods to apologize, “I gave him the motherly lesson,” she said. “Pay attention. You can hurt someone’s feelings. What he said was so unnecessary.”


U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, on Tuesday called for the firing of Democratic National Committee officials whose antagonistic remarks against Bernie Sanders were revealed in a batch of recently leaked emails, reports The Tennessean.

Cohen, addressing Tennessee’s Democratic delegation at a Tuesday morning breakfast, took particular exception to emails that showed a top DNC official proposing that Sanders’ Jewish faith be questioned in two late-primary states to expose him as an atheist.

“For a party to question his religion, or lack thereof, as a way to defeat that person, those people should resign and if they don’t resign they should be fired,” Cohen said, drawing applause from Tennessee’s Sanders delegates. “And it’s not just politics, it’s what’s right. What’s right is you don’t do those things.

“Some people will think, ‘Oh well, politically we shouldn’t do it and those people have done X, Y and Z for the party.’ But they crossed the Rubicon. They crossed the line.”

In one email to other DNC staffers that was leaked, the party’s Chief Financial Officer Brad Marshall said they should get someone in Kentucky or West Virginia to ask Sanders whether he believes in God. He wrote that he thought he had read Sanders was an atheist and that Southern Baptists would “draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”