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I wouldn't have believed it if you told me yesterday, but it looks like Cynthia McKinney may actually lose before getting to the general election!
McKinney headed for runoff with Johnson
By Valerie Basheda | Wednesday, July 19, 2006, 01:37 AM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney is headed to a runoff against a relatively unknown challenger in a Democratic primary she was expected to win with ease.
The controversial 4th District incumbent, accused of striking a Capitol Hill police officer last March, narrowly led former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson.
Alpharetta businessman John F. Coyne III came in a distant third but with enough votes to play the spoiler in his first election, keeping McKinney from topping 50 percent of the vote.
Few political analysts expected McKinney to have much trouble in her re-election bid even though her longheld status as a political lightning rod reached new heights over her very public confrontation with the Capitol guard.
Using a strategy that has been effective before, McKinney ran a low-key campaign â€” even refusing to appear at major debates against her challengers. She concentrated on her base in south DeKalb, meeting with constituents in the area.
In 2004, McKinney ran as an outspoken opponent of the Bush administrationâ€™s war on terrorism and ousted five Democratic primary opponents without a runoff. She then defeated the sole Republican in the general election to reclaim the seat she had held for 10 years before she was upset by Denise Majette in 2002.
Recognizing his daughterâ€™s polarizing effect, former state representative Billy McKinney on Tuesday night discounted Johnsonâ€™s showing in the primary.
â€śThereâ€™s a love and hate of Cynthia McKinney,â€ť he said. â€śMickey Mouse would get a certain amount of votes.â€ť
Anne Dishman of Decatur, who said she voted for Johnson, reflected voter discontent with McKinney. â€śI donâ€™t know a lot about him [Johnson],â€ť Dishman said as she left her polling place at Holy Trinity Parish. â€śItâ€™s most important that Cynthia is not voted back in her office.â€ť
Lance Blair of Decatur also supported Johnson. â€śI preferred his tone, which would be more advantageous for the district,â€ť Blair said. â€śRight or wrong, Washington has tuned McKinney out.â€ť
McKinney made a brief appearance before supporters late Tuesday. As Michael Jacksonâ€™s song â€śDonâ€™t Stop Til You Get Enoughâ€ť played in the background, McKinney said, â€śWe wonâ€™t stop until we get enough.â€ť McKinney also cited her opposition to â€śthis administrationâ€™s war machine,â€ť support of black farmers who sued for racial discrimination and bringing â€śhundreds of millions of dollars back to Georgiaâ€ť for traffic and green space improvements and other projects.
â€śIâ€™m asking the poeple of the 4th Congressional District to stand with me now,â€ť she said. â€ť Weâ€™ve been here before, but you know what? It is impossible to keep a good woman down. â€¦This battle is now engaged and we intend to win.â€ť
McKinney is seeking a seventh term in Congress. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of votes cast in the primary, a runoff will be held Aug. 8.
The victor in the primary in the heavily Democratic district would be a strong favorite in the general election in November.
The district encompasses most of DeKalb County, half of Rockdale County and a sliver of Gwinnett County.
McKinney has drawn support in the district despite widespread criticism over her confrontation with the police officer. A grand jury declined to indict McKinney.
â€śA lot of people donâ€™t like her, but sheâ€™s a fighter, sheâ€™s a trouper and sheâ€™s a winner,â€ť said Mary Harvey of Decatur, who said she voted for McKinney as she left the precinct at the Covington Highway Library.
â€śSheâ€™s trying to fight for equality for women, for the doors that have been closedâ€ť to minorities, Harvey said.
Johnson, who resigned his DeKalb County Commission seat in April to run for the congressional post, positioned himself as an alternative to McKinney. He called her confrontation with the Capitol Hill policeman â€śan embarrassment to the people of the district.â€ť
He said he would â€śtake care of home first,â€ť focusing on issues like education, the economy, health care and transportation.
He said McKinney had not done enough for the district.
McKinney disputed that criticism.
She was joined at her campaign gathering Tuesday by Cindy Sheehan and Lithonia resident Patricia Roberts, two mothers whose sons were killed in Iraq and who have criticized the war.
Johnson said Tuesday he was prepared for a runoff against McKinney.
â€śWe trained for 15 rounds, and this is round 12,â€ť he told cheering supporters. â€śWeâ€™re not ceding any location.â€ť
__________________ “You always try to know what you need, try to manage the game given the game situation, ... and I think that's one of the things that Tom does best.” - Bill Belichick
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