Steve Cohen

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Memphis), one of the most prominent Democratic figures in the state, is endorsing Memphis City Councilmember JB Smiley Jr.’s bid for the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

“Having a governor who understands the needs and importance of the cities as well as the towns is of importance for benefits to be extended equitably,” Cohen said in a statement.

Smiley is one of several Democrats seeking the nomination, with the winner of the August 2022 primary likely to face incumbent GOP Gov. Bill Lee in November. The other candidates include Jason Martin, a Nashville physician who has been critical of Lee’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), the only other Democrat in the Tennessee congressional delegation, is not weighing in yet, a spokesperson confirmed. Days ahead of the 2018 gubernatorial primary, Cooper backed former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean over then-state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh.

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