For the second time in six years, Rep. Cynthia McKinney (Georgia) lost her suburban Atlanta House seat to a fellow Democrat who successfully argued she was not representing the needs of her district. McKinney was defeated by former DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson in a run-off election Tuesday after neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote in the July 18 primary. Johnson is favored to defeat Catherine Davis, the GOP nominee, in November. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry overwhelmingly carried the district as the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004 and McKinney, easily won election that same year.
In her hour of defeat, McKinney was unbowed, unleashing a stem-winder of a concession speech in which she barely mentioned her opponent but praised leftist leaders in Cuba and Venezuela, took aim at the efficacy of electronic voting machines and offered several swipes at the media.
"Members of the press, as well as our political leaders, don't give us explanations that explain, or conclusions that conclude," McKinney said. "There comes a time when people of conscience are compelled to dissent."
Before she began her remarks, she played the song "Dear Mr. President," an anti-Bush anthem by Pink, and sang along, somewhat out of tune, with its critical lyrics.
"We love our country, and that is why we dissent, because we care," she said. "Either we can be a force for good, or we can rely on force and upset the world. Sadly, this administration has chosen the latter."
McKinney, who is no stranger to controversy, was involved in a much publicized altercation earlier this year when she allegedly struck a U.S. Capitol Police officer, who attempted to stop her from bypassing a medal detector in a House office building. While McKinney apologized for the incident, a grand jury declined to indict her. But the incident played into Johnson's charge that she was an "embarrassment" to her constituents.
Without mentioning Johnson by name, McKinney concluded her concession speech by saying, "I wish the new representative of the 4th Congressional District well."
She gave no indication about her future plans.