News & Election Videos

August 06, 2008

Dems invoking Ku Klux Klan founder in attacks

Ku Klux Klan founder Nathaniel Bedford Forrest has been dead for over 130 years, but he has already become a newfound star in Democratic opposition research.

Attorney Nikki Tinker, an African-American Democrat, has drawn much controversy this week after airing a primary attack ad that connects Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) to the Ku Klux Klan founder.

But her ad is awfully similar to a DCCC mail piece that the committee sent out against Mississippi Republican Greg Davis before a pivotal May special election. The piece, targeted to black voters, accused Davis of attempting to honor Forrest with a statue of him in his hometown.

Tinker’s advertisement against Cohen accuses him of voting against removing a statue of Forrest from a Memphis-area park.

Both candidates are from the Memphis area, but couldn’t be more different politically. Cohen, a liberal Jewish congressman, represented the city of Memphis in the state Senate for decades. Davis, a staunch conservative, hails from the Memphis suburbs in northern Mississippi.

The DCCC’s attack on Davis played a role in mobilizing African-American turnout on behalf of now-Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.). We’ll see tomorrow whether Tinker’s racially divisive attack ads will have a similar impact.