Tag Archives: Tomeka

On Cohen’s Democratic Challenger, Tomeka Hart

There’s a historical precedent for what Tomeka Hart is trying to do, reports Bart Sullivan. In 2004, she took on a powerful, 17-year incumbent, and beat him with 68 percent of the vote to win a seat on the Memphis City Schools board.
Now a member of the unified school board that is carrying out the merger of Memphis and Shelby County schools, Hart is aiming higher this year. Her sights are set on three-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary that is tantamount to outright election in the heavily Democratic 9th Congressional District.
She said she is “absolutely not” running just to raise her profile for a future shot at the seat.
“I’m running to win right now,” said the 41-year-old former school teacher and labor lawyer who’s on leave as president and CEO of the Memphis Urban League. “The district can’t wait until he (Cohen) retires to get the kind of leadership I’m talking about.”

Cohen’s Democratic Challenger Opens Campaign

Vowing to run hard against “two millionaires, actual millionaires, one in the primary, one in the general election,” 9th District congressional candidate Tomeka Hart has opened up her headquarters. The Memphis Flyer reports:
Addressing a group of supporters drawn heavily from the ranks of New Path, the activist group that gave her a start in politics by boosting her for the Memphis City Schools board in 2004, Democrat Hart promised to focus on local issues in a way that she said the incumbent Democrat, Steve Cohen, has not.
Hart even managed to turn a supporter’s suggestion that she might have considered running for mayor or the City Council first into a slam against Cohen.
“I get that a lot,” she said, contending that such advice reflects a sense in the district that the current congressman is “not about local issues, but all about national politics….That seat should be completely about what’s going on in Memphis.”
Having reviewed her role as a prime mover on the MCS board in 2010 for the charter surrender that forced the ongoing city/county school merger, Hart said she had asked Cohen for aid and support of the merger movement but had been turned down. “The response was he wasn’t getting involved in local issues,” Hart said.

Cohen Has a Challenger

Tomeka Hart, one of the Memphis City Schools board members who has led the charge to force consolidation of MCS with Shelby County Schools, said Tuesday that she will run for Congress. More from the CA’s Zack McMillin:
Hart, 40, said she has not decided when she will officially file to challenge U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., but plans are in motion.
She wrote in a Facebook message: “The worst-kept secret in Memphis is that I’m planning to run for Congress.”
Hart, president and CEO of the Memphis Urban League, lives in Midtown in what is currently the 9th Congressional District, a seat held by Cohen, who also lives in Midtown.
Cohen, 62, said he expected a challenge but, citing a visit by Hart to his office two months ago, is surprised by the source.
“She told me, ‘We know you are always right on the issues and you always vote right and do right,’ ” Cohen said. “She sounded like one of my strongest supporters. Other than that I haven’t ever heard from her on any issue at all.”

See also Jackson Baker, who got word via Twitter.