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Progressive Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia Mckinney Loses Controversial Primary; Roundtable Discussion Includes Alabama Congressmember Earl Hilliard, Similarly Targeted and Defeated

StoryAugust 21, 2002
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For the second time this summer, a leading Congressional critic of U.S.-Israeli policy was defeated at the polls. Early this morning five-time incumbent Rep. Cynthia McKinney conceded to former state judge Denise Majette in Georgia’s Democratic Primary. McKinney is Georgia’s first African-American Congresswoman.

Lobbying groups and the mainstream media turned the highly contested race into a battle over Middle East policies. Pro-Israeli government lobbies heavily supported Majette, while the mainstream media focused overwhelmingly on McKinney’s Arab and Muslim supporters.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported thousands of Republicans voted in the open Democratic primary in an effort to oust McKinney. More than 22 times as many voters cast ballots in the Democratic primary than in the Republic primary. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Majette had received 58 percent of the vote.

In her concession speech early this morning, McKinney was unapologetic.

She said: “In Congress, doing what is right is not always easy. Sometimes you have to stand up to seemingly unbeatable odds — speak truth to the most powerful interests — to do what is right.”

McKinney’s loss echoed that of Alabama Rep. Earl Hilliard, who was defeated by Artur Davis in June. In both cases, a black Congressional critic of Israel was defeated by a black political newcomer, who was backed by Jewish establishment groups that lobby for the Israel government.

In another highly watched Georgia primary, four-time Representative Bob Barr was soundly defeated by Rep. John Linder. The two incumbents were forced to run against each other to due to redistricting. Barr was one of the most conservative members of Congress. He led the drive to impeach President Clinton.


  • Kharabia Rayford, McKinney outreach coordinator, political activist and musician organizing the “We Love Cynthia McKinney Freedom Ride.”
  • Rep. Earl Hilliard (D-Ala).
  • Norman Finkelstein, author of “The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering.”
  • Paul Findley, former Congressman from Illinois and author of “They Dare to Speak Out: People and Institutions Confront Israel’s Lobby.”

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