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Barr, McKinney lose in Georgia primaries

'The numbers just weren't there'

Denise Majette defeated Rep. Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary:
Denise Majette defeated Rep. Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary: "This victory is your reward."  

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Outspoken GOP Rep. Bob Barr, best known for his high-profile role in the impeachment and trial of former President Bill Clinton, was defeated Tuesday in a Republican primary against a fellow House member, Rep. John Linder, for a seat in the Atlanta suburbs.

Also ousted was another controversial member of Georgia's congressional delegation, Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who lost to former state judge and political newcomer Denise Majette.

"This victory is your reward," a jubilant Majette told supporters. "Together we can accomplish anything."

With 99 percent of the precincts counted, Majette held 58 percent of the vote in the 4th District House race, compared to 42 percent for McKinney.

Challenger Denise Majette ousts U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney in the Democratic primary for Georgia's 4th Congressional District. CNN's Martin Savidge reports. (August 21)

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"I want to congratulate Denise Majette," McKinney said in her concession speech. "I wish her well."

"I won't help the Republicans," she said in a nod to party unity.

With 95 percent of the precincts counted in the 7th District, which sprawls across parts of five counties in Atlanta's northern suburbs, Linder was carrying 66 percent of the vote, compared to just 34 percent for Barr. The Associated Press projected Linder as the winner.

Barr and Linder ran against each other in the Republican primary after the Democratic-controlled Georgia legislature dismembered their existing districts during reapportionment.

"The numbers just weren't there this evening," Barr said in his concession speech.

"We've accomplished, as a team, more than many other members -- probably most other members of the Congress and Senate -- accomplish in an entire lifetime, and I appreciate that very much," Barr said in thanking his staff.

Rep. John Linder exuberantly greeted supporters after winning the 7th District Republican primary against Bob Barr, whom Linder had called a
Rep. John Linder exuberantly greeted supporters after winning the 7th District Republican primary against Bob Barr, whom Linder had called a "loose cannon."  

Another Georgia congressman, Rep. Saxby Chambliss, easily won the GOP nomination to face Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in the fall. He had White House backing in the primary race against former state House GOP leader Bob Irvin.

Voters in Wyoming also went to the polls Tuesday, where crowded fields in both parties sought the gubernatorial nomination. Eli Bebout, a former state House speaker, defeated four others in the Republican field, while Dave Freudenthal, a former U.S. attorney, opened up a lead on the Democratic side.

McKinney and Majette, both of whom are black, squared off in a district centered in DeKalb County, just to the east of Atlanta. The district is about 50 percent black and heavily Democratic, though it has pockets of Jewish and Republican voters whom McKinney has irritated with her pro-Palestinian positions and outspoken comments about the war on terrorism.

Georgia, which has no party registration, allows Republican voters to cross over into the Democratic primary. McKinney critics organized a campaign to urge GOP voters to take a Democratic ballot so they could vote for Majette.

Large percentages of voters in normally GOP precincts voted Democratic ballots Tuesday, according to local news reports.

McKinney on the outs

Rep. Cynthia McKinney gives her concession speech early Wednesday:
Rep. Cynthia McKinney gives her concession speech early Wednesday: "I won't help the Republicans."  

"Tonight we saw massive Republican crossover into the Democratic primary, and it looks like the Republicans wanted to beat me more than the Democrats wanted to keep me," McKinney said in her concession speech.

In her loss, McKinney joined Rep. Earl Hilliard, Democrat of Alabama, as the second black lawmaker targeted by Jewish groups to lose a re-election bid in the post-September 11 era. Fueled by contributions from the Jewish community, Majette raised more money than the incumbent.

In March, McKinney, the first black woman ever elected to Congress from Georgia when she won in 1992, implied in a radio interview that members of the Bush administration knew about the September 11 attacks beforehand. She also said that "persons close to this administration are poised to make huge profits off America's new war."

In defeat, McKinney was unapologetic.

"In Congress, doing what is right is not always easy," she said. "Sometimes you have to stand up to seemingly unbeatable odds -- speak truth to the most powerful interests -- to do what is right."

When then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani turned down a $10 million contribution from a Saudi prince to assist terrorism victims because of the prince's rebuke of United States Middle East policy, McKinney wrote to the prince, offering to accept the money for other charitable causes.

In their only debate, Majette criticized McKinney for accepting campaign contributions from Arab-Americans with possible ties to terrorist organizations, including several who were named in a lawsuit by families of September 11 victims. In response, McKinney said her campaign would not "racially profile" contributors.

Majette's campaign also accused McKinney supporters of being behind a telephone campaign that inaccurately claimed that crossover voting was illegal in Georgia, a charge McKinney's campaign denied.

Barr in new territory

Rep. Bob Barr was consoled by longtime friend and supporter Carolyn Meadows on the way to his concession speech:
Rep. Bob Barr was consoled by longtime friend and supporter Carolyn Meadows on the way to his concession speech: "We've accomplished, as a team, more than many members."  

After reapportionment, Barr decided to run against Linder, an ally of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, instead of running in another Democratic-leaning district that contained much of his old territory.

The new district had more Linder voters than Barr voters. However, many voters were new to both men, and Barr had a fund-raising advantage.

With the two conservative candidates largely agreeing on the major issues, the race became personal. Barr ran ads showing himself as a strapping horse racing across a pasture -- and Linder as a pony. When an antique pistol Barr was handing at the home of a supporter went off accidentally, Linder branded him a "loose cannon." A man dressed as the cartoon character Yosemite Sam then began showing up at Barr's events.

Linder's campaign also put video on its Web site showing Barr supporters pulling down Linder's yard signs.

In the Georgia Republican primary for governor, former state Sen. Sonny Perdue opened up a lead over two opponents. Pre-election polls had showed the race was a tight three-way battle, but, with 91 percent of the precincts counted, Perdue was on the verge of winning an outright majority, avoiding an expected runoff.

The GOP nominee will take on Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes in November.

-- CNN Political Editor John Mercurio contributed to this report.




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