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July 28, 2006
McKinney Losing Big To Johnson

CQ readers may have been surprised to see an advertisement for a Democrat appearing on the site. However, Hank Johnson has made an extraordinarily large effort to expand his reach in the upcoming primary runoff for Cynthia McKinney's seat in Congress. That effort seems to have paid off for Johnson, as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Johnson has 25 points over the controversial incumbent with a little over a week to go before the election:

A new poll by Insider Advantage shows challenger Hank Johnson with a hefty lead over incumbent Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic run-off for the 4th District congressional race.

The poll shows Johnson leading McKinney, 46 to 21 percent, with a third of voters undecided. The survey recorded the responses of 489 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 5 percent.

Run-offs are notorious for low turnout, which often makes telephone surveys unreliable. Matt Towery, CEO of InsiderAdvantage, said he was unwilling to say that McKinney was headed for certain defeat. "But is she in deep, deep, deep, deep troube? Yes," he said.

Towery said McKinney and Johnson split the African-American vote in the district, which makes up nearly 53 percent of the electorate. But an overwhelming number of white voters surveyed, who make up 42 percent of the 4th District electorate, said they preferred Johnson.

This election will break less on party or racial lines than on sanity lines, and Johnson has a huge advantage over McKinney in that category. McKinney still insists that George Bush set up the 9/11 attacks as a way to personally aggrandize power, although she has absolutely no proof of the allegation -- and with Osama bin Laden taking personal credit in more than one statement, it seems unlikely she will find any. McKinney has increasingly relied on propping up a cult of personality, giving voters a near-messianic vision of herself as the only person capable of representing her constituency, while embarrassing them by assaulting Capitol Hill police officers and -- well, opening her mouth.

Johnson, on the other hand, has conducted a dignified and somewhat low-key campaign, and it has worked to contrast him with the hyperbolic incumbent. McKinney refused to debate Johnson, and one can understand why; his style would come across as serious and dignified and show her up for the hysterical harpie she has become.

This is not to say that Johnson is a conservative's dream. People should check out Johnson's website to see hi s positions on the issues, which correspond very closely to the Democratic Party platform, such as it is these days. His voice will lend itself to increased spending and increased taxes. However, one can expect no less from this particular district, as those policies find great favor among McKinney's constituents. This district will not turn Republican in the next few weeks.

What Johnson will bring to Congress is a responsible voice for that constituency, a voice that will garner attention for the right reasons. I will likely oppose most of what Johnson supports, and vice versa, but Johnson will at least have my respect and that of the rest of Congress. Johnson will not use his office to turn himself into some kind of pop-culture martyr. The voters of his district deserve to have a responsible Representative, and it appears that enough of them agree.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 28, 2006 8:12 AM

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» Representative Cynthia McKinney Watch: Latest Poll - Challenger Hank Johnson with a Hefty Lead Over Incumbent Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic Run-off from FullosseousFlap's Dental Blog
Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, right, gathers with Cindy Sheehan Tuesday, July 18, 2006, at her campaign headquarters in DeKalb, Ga. AJC: Poll: Johnson has lead over McKinney A new poll by Insider Advantage shows challenger Hank Johnson with a hefty ... [Read More]

Tracked on July 28, 2006 12:34 PM


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