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McKinney Looking for Another Comeback

While Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) battle it out for the Democratic presidential nomination, another (former) Democratic lawmaker is working toward her own party's nod for the November ballot.

Ex-Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney is running for the Green Party's nomination for president. She won the Statehood Green Party primary in D.C. with 41 percent of the vote (out of a total of 509 votes cast), and has also won Green primaries in Illinois and Arkansas. She lost in California to consumer activist Ralph Nader.

McKinney is best-known for her on-again, off-again career in the House. She served in the chamber from 1993 until she was defeated in an ugly 2002 primary by Denise Majette. That contest was focused on McKinney's controversial statements about a potential U.S. government conspiracy behind the Sept. 11 attacks, and about negative comments she made about Israel that drew attention -- and money -- to Majette from outside the district.

During that primary campaign, McKinney's father, then-state Rep. Billy McKinney, complained that "Jews have bought everybody ... J-E-W-S."

After winning the House seat in 2002, Majette ran unsuccessfully for Senate in 2004, and McKinney won the House seat back that year. Then McKinney lost again in the 2006 Democratic primary to current Rep. Hank Johnson. During her second stint in the House, McKinney was involved in a well-publicized incident at a House office building door, during which she allegedly pushed or hit a Capitol Police officer.

Now, she's running full steam ahead for the White House, though in a video interview posted on her Web site, McKinney seems to acknowledge that, given the long odds against her, her candidacy is about more than just winning.

"Well of course, I'd love to be able to sign in my new address as 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but I also understand that what we're involved in hopefully is the creation of a movement, a movement that is vital to the future of this country," McKinney said.

McKinney is now touring the country trying to drum up support and make public appearances. Tonight, for example, McKinney will be at the Audubon Ballroom in New York to participate in a panel discussion on "The Assassination of Malcolm X: A Riddle Unraveled." She has drawn support from an eclectic cast of characters, including convicted murderer and cause célèbre Mumia Abu Jamal.

The Green Party is on the presidential ballot in 21 states and is working to get on all 51 (including D.C.). In several states, the party is holding caucuses to choose a presidential nominee. The next big step for McKinney is the party's national presidential nominating convention in Chicago July 10-13. For political reporters who prefer the Windy City to Denver or Minneapolis, and who know that McKinney nearly always has something interesting to say, his could be a hot ticket.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 21, 2008; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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McKinney is a nutball loon (--is that redundant?). Why would the Green Party, which I thought was trying to appear legitimate, want her on the ballot. Also, wasn't the Green Party founded on environmental aims. I'm from Dekalb County, Georgia, McKinney's home, and she's never made one utterance with respect to the environment. Yikes.

Posted by: mart | February 21, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I can't help but feel like she is running on the Green ticket because she had no where else to turn. She is probably bringing down what little hope there was for the Greens to build a respectable reputation in politics. Many countries have Green parties that are relatively successful. With out planet's health becoming an increasingly important economic and national security issue, I think now would be a good time for the U.S. Greens to establish themselves as a legitimate organization. Instead they are being hijacked by a candidate desperate to get attention. I highly doubt McKinney has filed an environmentally conscious piece of legislation in her life.

Since the Greens refuse to stay relevant. The least we can all do is email Obama and McCain and ask them to put their money where their mouth is and make their campaigns carbon neutral...

Posted by: Brandon | February 21, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Say what you will, McKinney deserves at least consideration for her willingness to publically question the official government version of just what happened on 9/11/01. It cost her her seat in Congress. But some day, the truth may actually come out.

Posted by: David Graham | February 22, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

McKinney was taken out by a flood of money and fear associated with her criticism of Israel's incredible callousness and brutality toward the Palestinians. Had she kept her mouth shut about that ugly issue as her "smarter", non-"loon"y colleagues always do, that incident we hear about would have cost her nothing.

Posted by: hatuxka | February 22, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

No idea why this woman would think she's an appropriate representative of the Green Party. Kucinich hasn't tried to run as a Republican.

Posted by: Ridiculous | February 22, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

David Graham is right about 9/11. Someday the truth WILL come out. Here it is:

Posted by: Lonestar78730 | February 22, 2008 6:01 PM | Report abuse

"McKinney was involved in a well-publicized incident ... during which she allegedly pushed or hit a Capitol Police officer." No mention her that she was exonerated of the charge. And of course McKinney is an anti-semite because of something her father said. No mention here of her numerous printed statements praising the work of Jews who have struggled for justice and civil rights. Smear away, Ben! Everybody else is doing it.

Posted by: a to z | February 25, 2008 3:21 AM | Report abuse

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