Rep. Cynthia McKinney Forced Into a Runoff

I’m just taking a guess, but I don’t think this is what McKinney wanted:

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 — 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 administration’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 daughter’s polarizing effect, former state representative Billy McKinney on Tuesday night discounted Johnson’s showing in the primary.

“There’s a love and hate of Cynthia McKinney,” he said. “Mickey Mouse would get a certain amount of votes.”

Anne Dishman of Decatur, who said she voted for Johnson, reflected voter discontent with McKinney. “I don’t know a lot about him [Johnson],” Dishman said as she left her polling place at Holy Trinity Parish. “It’s most important that Cynthia is not voted back in her office.”

Lance Blair of Decatur also supported Johnson. “I preferred his tone, which would be more advantageous for the district,” Blair said. “Right or wrong, Washington has tuned McKinney out.”

Hank Johnson came in a very close second, too close for McKinney’s comfort:

McKinney only edged former two-term DeKalb County commissioner Hank Johnson by fewer than 1,500 votes — 28,507 to 27,049. The two will pair off again in an Aug. 8 runoff for the Congressional 4th District.

As the results came in early Tuesday evening, McKinney supporters celebrated her lead over Johnson, but the votes tightened throughout the evening as more districts reported. At one point, Johnson had the lead over McKinney.

The runoff between McKinney and Johnson takes place on August 8th. If you want to support Hank Johnson in his quest to unseat Rep. McKinney, see Hank for Congress.

Kevin adds: The anti-McKinney vote was higher than the pro-McKinney vote. From the Georgia Secretary of State’s official elections returns page:

U.S. Representative, District 4
98% of precincts reporting  Votes Percentage

John F. Coyne, III    5,216 8.6%
Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.    27,082 44.5%
Cynthia McKinney    28,518 46.9%

If Johnson picks up the Coyne vote McKinney will be turned out of office for the second time in the last 4 years.

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