VOL. 129 | NO. 152 | Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Cohen Goes to Court Over Williams Ballot
By Bill Dries
The Democratic primary for the 9th Congressional District continued to be about endorsements with days left until election day polls open in the contest between incumbent Steve Cohen and challenger Ricky E. Wilkins.
Cohen went to Circuit Court Monday, Aug. 4, to get a restraining order against M. Latroy Williams, a perennial candidate and prolific issuer of endorsement ballots.
The court order is about Williams’ ballot under the banner of the “National Democratic Party” that claims President Barack Obama endorses Wilkins in the primary. Signs put up by Williams and literature he’s distributed under the National Democratic Party banner feature pictures of Obama and Wilkins with Wilkins’ first name misspelled.
The order by Judge Karen Williams (no relation) orders him to stop distributing the literature and halt a radio ad, as well and pick up existing signs and literature he’s already distributed.
Cohen has heavily touted his endorsement by Obama in this and every other re-election campaign he has waged since he won the congressional seat in 2006.
Cohen and Wilkins clashed recently over the endorsement of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which resulted in the labor union ultimately deciding to make no endorsement in the primary.
In the case of the Williams ballot and signs, Cohen is not linking Wilkins to the Williams effort.
Wilkins, in a written statement Monday, said his campaign does not “control nor manage” the activities of individual groups supporting his campaign.
But he again faulted Cohen for touting the AFSCME endorsement and trying to bully local leaders of the union who Wilkins says planned to endorse him before Cohen called national leaders of the union.
“Steve Cohen bullies on one day and plays the victim on the next,” Wilkins continued. “Cohen’s tactics are dishonest and deceptive. … When you are trying to defeat an incumbent congressman, you need a diverse and wide-ranging group of supporters.”