In his role as chairman of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law, Cohen has been investigating no-bid contracts for federal court monitoring awarded by former Republican U.S. Atty. Christopher Christie, who is challenging Democratic New Jersey Gov. John Corzine in this fall's off-year election. Just this week, Cohen again accused Christie of failing to adequately answers from Democratic members about contracts awarded to friends and allies -- including former U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft.
PolitickerNJ writer Wally Edge speculates as to how this might affect Cohen's 2010 bid:
It should be interesting to see if any New Jerseyans play in the race for Congress in Tennessee's ninth district next year. Democrats owe one to Cohen, who has been fairly harsh in his criticism of Christie's no-bid federal monitor contracts to some lawyers with ties to the Bush administration. But few N.J. Democrats may be willing to offend African American leaders who may believe a district where six out of ten residents are black ought to be represented by a black Congressman. But don't be surprised if a few N.J. Republicans decide to raise money for Herenton. The GOP won't have any trouble saying Tennessee 9 should be represented by a minority.UPDATE: Cohen sent a letter to the editor of The New York Times that was published today. He says that one political analyst quoted in Monday's story was off base in his predictions:
When Mr. Bositis suggests that I was a "long-shot candidate" and "lucked out" in my previous elections, he seems not to understand the history or the voters of Tennessee's Ninth District. Nor did he factor in my 30-year record of progressive, honest and effective representation of people based on issues, not race.In electing me, the voters picked the candidate of their choice, not their race, which foreshadowed the historic election of Barack Obama in 2008. We've come a long way in Memphis, and ours is a story of postracial politics.