The battle -- generational and ideological -- between two state Representatives from Philly took a turn toward the personal today when Brian Sims questioned whether Mark Cohen has the metal "faculties to do this job anymore."
In a Facebook post, Sims, 35, said Cohen, 64, is well-known in the state Capitol for being "absent minded and lost" and often missing or late for important committee hearings.
"Virtually every single person in the Capitol has a story about Mark being lost in a bathroom or arguing with the plants or with the pictures on the wall," Sims wrote. "Much more importantly, he's simply not showing up to the one committee he serves on and chairs, across from [state Rep.] Daryl Metcalfe!"
Cohen is the Democratic chairman of the State Government Committee. Metcalfe, a conservative Republican from Butler County is committee's majority chairman.
Sims, now seeking a second two-year term in Center City's 182nd District, has endorsed Democrat Jared Solomon's challenge to Cohen in the 202nd District, which stretches northwest from Wissinoming through lower Northeast Philly to the Montgomery County line.
Sims, who made his Facebook comments in a post about a fundraiser for Solomon, has offended some Democrats in Harrisburg by backing challengers to incumbents. Sims defeated state Rep. Babette Josephs in 2012 after serving as her campaign treasurer in 2010.
Sims promised to work across the aisle with Republicans, a more moderate approach than the liberal Cohen and Josephs are known for. Josephs, who served 14 terms, last week announced that she is challenging Sims in the May 20 Democratic primary election.
Cohen, who has served in the state House since 1974, went 28 years without a challenger on the ballot. He won another term in 2012 after being challenged in that year's Democratic primary election. We're waiting on his response to the claims by Sims.
UPDATE: 6:35 PM: Cohen today described his physical and mental health as “excellent.” Cohen added that he is “on occasion” late for meetings like many people in Harrisburg.
“My sense is Sims is suffering a melt-down,” Cohen said. “The implication that I’m suffering from dementia is bizarre and absurd.”