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 cÃ©lÃ¨bre 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.
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