Out in the West Tennessee wilds, two challengers are tackling the long-odds task of unseating two different incumbent congressmen, and these challengers share a last name—though likely not a whole lot else.
James L. Hart: well, certainly you remember him. Back when the Eighth District was represented by a Democrat (John Tanner), Hart would try to run as a Republican every cycle. In 2004, he successfully captured the nomination. He has been barred by the Tennessee Republican Party from running on the GOP ticket ever since; and this time, he is running as an independent candidate. Hart holds views on race that are quite controversial, to say the least. He is running against U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher.
Tomeka Hart: Ms. Hart is a Memphis City School Board member and president of the Memphis Urban League. The city school system is in a state of transition towards merging with the county system, following a charter surrender drive that Ms. Hart supported. She is running against U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen in the Ninth District Democratic primary. In each election cycle since Cohen took office, he has had primary opposition from at least one African-American candidate: Nikki Tinker in 2008, former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton in 2010, and now Tomeka Hart. The latter so far hasn’t made overt references to Cohen’s race or religion, both of which have been brought up in past elections.
The voter guide has been updated to include these candidates.