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Rep. Steve Cohen Learns "Daughter" Isn't His

Rep. Steve Cohen Learns "Daughter" Isn't His

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - July 18, 2013

A 64-year-old man, a paternity test, and the young woman he thought was his daughter -- no, that isn’t the tagline for an episode of “Maury” but a peculiar development in the life of Tennessee Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen.

Cohen, a prolific tweeter, was discovered corresponding with a 24-year-old aspiring model while sitting in the House chamber during the president’s State of the Union address in February. The tweets, thanking the woman for watching the speech, wishing her a happy Valentine’s Day, and telling her he loved her, were soon deleted -- but not before raising many eyebrows. Cohen later explained that the woman was Victoria Brink, whom he had discovered just a few years earlier was his daughter.

But as it turned out, the congressman didn’t do his homework. He said he learned about the daughter when Google-searching for an ex-girlfriend and found out she had a child; as he has described to NBC News at the time, “the math looked pretty accurate.” He also told NBC that he corresponded with the young woman’s mother, who told him they had “a lot of catching up to do.” He also mentioned that he took Brink on a tour of the Capitol and was proud to be her father.

A paternity test released Thursday, however, proved Cohen’s Google “discovery” to be false.

The four-term lawmaker, who is single, agreed to participate in a paternity test sponsored by CNN. The test confirmed that Brink’s father is the man who has been raising her, John Brink, who was married to Victoria’s mother from 1985 to 1989, according to USA Today.

In an interview with CNN, Brink admitted keeping her belief that she was Cohen’s daughter secret from her family, including John Brink, and said the lesson she learned from the episode is to have DNA testing done "first."

In a statement, Cohen said he was “stunned” and “dismayed” by the test results. “I still love Victoria, hold dear the time I have shared with her and hope to continue to be part of her life,” he said. 

Asked by RCP for further comment Thursday, he responded: "You're very attractive but I'm not talking about it."

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at chueyburns@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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