McKinney Scares Denise Majette Out of
House Seat Taken in 2002
About Her Campaign
-- in which
9/11 Will Not be Forgotten
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April 5, 2004, 1800 PDT (FTW) -- Cynthia
McKinney, the lightning rod former five-term representative
from Georgia's 4th District, is making a political
comeback after being defeated by Republican-turned-Democrat
Denise Majette in the 2002 Democratic primary. Majette's
win, as documented by records filed by McKinney in an
ongoing Georgia court case was secured as an estimated
43,000 Republican voters crossed over to vote (illegally пїЅ as
alleged by McKinney) as Democrats. As documented by
the Washington Post and the Atlanta
Journal Constitution, much of the funding for the
effort was provided by the American Israeli Public Affairs
Committee or AIPAC, which had long opposed McKinney
for her criticism of Israeli policy regarding Palestinians
in the occupied territories.
On March 29, McKinney announced that she would run for
her old seat. The following day Majette, a one-term congresswoman
with no legislative record, announced that she would
run for the US Senate seat being vacated by Georgia's
Zell Miller who is retiring. The local papers and experienced
politicians quickly realized that Majette, who must vacate
her House seat to do this, had a пїЅzeroпїЅ probability of
winning. It appeared to all that Majette was running
from a newly energized McKinney and a 4th District constituency
who had some пїЅbones to pickпїЅ. In fact, local TV accounts
of Majette's press conference showed Majette пїЅlosing
itпїЅ when asked if she was running away from McKinney.
A well-known champion of human and civil rights in the
United States and abroad, McKinney shook political
Washington in April 2002 when she suggested that the
Bush administration knew much more about pre-911 intelligence
than it was letting on. She was immediately pounced upon
by Republicans and Democrats alike, with many calling
her "loony" and "unpatriotic." By
the time of the August 2002 primary, Denise Majette пїЅ Republican
loyalist, supporter of Alan Keyes, and Georgia state
judge пїЅ had switched parties. She successfully took
on McKinney in the Democratic primary with the help of
the GOP cross-over votes and large amounts of out-of-state
money. Majette eventually won the general election in
a district which has never sent a Republican to the House.
Fourth District voters cried foul and challenged the
election in court.
That sent a number of political contributors in anti-McKinney
circles around Georgia and the country scrambling
to find another candidate to replace Majette as the challenger
to McKinney. After opinions by a number of members
of the 911 Commission, former Bush counter-terrorism
coordinator Richard Clarke, most of the Democratic candidates
for president, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill
that Bush and his aides may, in fact, have had some advance
knowledge of intelligence about 911, McKinney has become
a heroine to many around the world who have challenged
the Bush administration's account of the events leading
up to Black Tuesday. As the first major politician to
question Bush's handling of America's national security пїЅ something
that was considered off limits in the months immediately
after 911 пїЅ the honorable Cynthia McKinney stands
a good chance of being Georgia's political "comeback
McKinney was interviewed about her campaign plans.
Q: You were the first with lots of
9/11 questions - will you make that clear and stress
that in the campaign?
A: It was the Republicans
who made 9/11 an issue in the last primary election.
In fact, the macro issue was that the Republicans wanted
to take over and make Georgia a пїЅred stateпїЅ for George
W. Bush and even beyond him. But people can't help thinking
about me when they hear about Richard Clarke.
Q: Sharon and Likud have lost support
in Israel, the United States, and around the world.
Considering that it was the influential conservative
and pro-Likud lobby in the United States that largely
funded Majette's last campaign against you, will you
try and outflank them by appealing to the Jewish left
A: I've already
sent out appeals to a few folks. They include the members
of the пїЅJunity Coalition,пїЅ which consists of about 15
to 20 various organizations, including пїЅNot in My Name,пїЅ Jewish
Voices for Peace, and Jews for Peace in Palestine and
Q: What do you think is
behind Majette running for the U.S. Senate seat?
A: I don't know.
Q: Do you think she knew her chances
of beating you in the primary were far from certain?
I just don't know.
Q: Many Democrats failed to come to
your defense and some even attacked you in April 2002
when you were the first to question Bush about 911. Since
that time, many of them, including former Senator Max
Cleland, who was savaged by the neo-conservatives and
was also beaten for re-election, have echoed your original
observations about Bush and 911. Have these Democrats
offered you their support?
A: Not Cleland!
But I've had some calls from some Democrats who expressed
Q: At this point, who else is planning
to run in the primary?
A: There is Cathy
Woolard, the Atlanta City Council President and State
Senator Nadine Thomas, whose seat I actually helped create
Q: How will your decision affect the
court case against the results of the 2002 primary in
which there were GOP cross-over votes that affected the
A: There were oral
arguments on March 10. The state concluded that evidence
was submitted that was germane to the claims put forward
by the plaintiffs and that the state failed to respond
to that evidence. If this matter is decided on the law,
the plaintiffs will win. If it is decided on politics,
the state will win. There are two remedies that may be
imposed. One would close the July 2004 primary to only
Democrats or there could be a rerun of the 2002 election
to deal with the last election's faults and might decide
that Majette won the primary illegally, in effect overturning
the 2002 primary. That special election, which would
be held before the 2004 primary, might also be closed
to only Democrats. In either case, if the plaintiffs
win there won't be a Republican crossover vote.
Q: What are the top issues as you
see them in the campaign?
A: There is economic
development and jobs. Foreclosures are a big problem
in the 4th District. People have to keep their homes,
and jobs and economic development are critical. Education
and health care are huge issues along with infrastructure
and transportation. Juvenile justice is also a big problem
with police now stationed inside schools in the blacker
south side of the district. Normal teenage discipline
problems, even verbal altercations, now result in criminal
charges being brought. That is tough for 15 or 16 year
olds who have criminal records before they even enter
the work force. That causes problems later on. Environmental
injustice is also a problem in the south side of the
district with landfills present in a number of residential
areas. The war in Iraq hits home also. The first Georgia
soldier killed in Iraq was from the 4th District.
In announcing her candidacy McKinney did not shy away
from 9/11. She said:
Two years ago I asked,'What did the Bush Administration
know, and when did it know it, about the events of
September 11th?' Today, the Bush Administration
continues its refusal to tell the American
people how it was that all fail-safe mechanisms and
standard operating procedures failed to operate for
the four separate hijackings that took place on that
single day. Furthermore, the American
people only have assurances from the Bush Administration
that the measures put in place since September 11th
will actually protect us from another such tragedy.
But now, we are painfully aware that we cannot trust the assurances coming
from the Bush Administration.
Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, appearing before
the 9-11 Commission, in trying to explain how September 11th happened stated,
'I just don't think we had the imagination required to consider a tragedy of
If we accept this as an official explanation from the Bush Administration
on how September 11th happened, then it is painfully clear that it is time
for the George W. Bush presidency to end.
Strategists close to the McKinney campaign have told FTW that
between now and the primary McKinney, while not shying
away from the 9/11 issue will focus primarily on local
issues important in the district which are of great concern
to her and to the voters there. But they were emphatic
that, after winning the primary, McKinney had no intention
of remaining silent about 9/11 and all of its implications
for the future. It is an issue which she can rightfully
claim as hers to spearhead throughout the contentious
national campaign that is sure to follow.
If re-elected, McKinney will retain her previous five-term
seniority which will influence her committee assignments
in the next congress. If she wins her court case and
the 2002 primary results are overturned, she would return
with an additional two years of seniority as though she
had never lost her seat.