- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Two of the most outspoken members of the U.S. House, Democrat Cynthia A. McKinney and Republican Bob Barr, lost their bids for re-election in last night's Georgia primary.

With 82 percent of the precincts reporting last night, Republican Rep. John Linder beat Mr. Barr in the 7th Congressional District by 67 percent to 33 percent.

"It was a tremendous turnout, and I'm very gratified with the support I've received," Mr. Linder told a crowd of supporters at the Gwinnett County Civic Center.

After conceding the race about 10:30 p.m., Mr. Barr went across the street to the civic center in order to congratulate Mr. Linder personally, Barr spokesman Brian Walsh said.

"We ran a good race. I don't regret a minute of it," Mr. Barr later told reporters. He said he is eager to get back and "finish the work of the 107th Congress."

In the other high-profile race, with 93 percent of the ballots counted in the 4th Congressional District, challenger Denise Majette defeated Mrs. McKinney by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent. She received a boost from an unprecedented number of Republicans crossing over to cast ballots in the Democratic primary.

Both Mrs. Majette and Mr. Linder are virtually assured of election in November due to respective party dominance in each district.

Poll watchers in the Republican areas of north DeKalb County reported that three or four times as many people were voting in the Democratic primary as in the Republican primary.

"I stood in line and watched the ballots," said one Republican who crossed over. "There were around eight for the Republican side and 200 for Democrats. And this is a place where they had three Democrat voting booths and five for Republicans."

Gerald Ashworth, a Republican, said that he would have rather voted in his party's contest. "But I've been here for 20 years, including all of [McKinneys] terms," he said. "And we need someone else."

"McKinney didn't change with the makeup of her district," said Charles Bullock III, a political scientist at the University of Georgia. "When she was first elected, it was 63 percent black. And things changed and she didn't."

Mrs. McKinney, a five-term incumbent, hit the 50 percent black district yesterday with a slew of supporters, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and the Rev. Joseph Lowery.

She ceased, however, to tout the support of former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, after Mr. Young accused her of using an endorsement tape from a previous campaign. Mr. Young said he would not endorse either candidate.

Another endorsement that was part of a campaign phone call, from actor Robert Redford, was discovered to have been recycled from an earlier campaign.

State and federal monitors also made the rounds of 4th District polling places amid reports of campaign workers politicking too close to the voting booths.

The candidate's father, state Rep. Billy McKinney, told WXIA-TV in Atlanta that the questions and confusion about the old endorsements was "nothing" and the controversy over them was a Jewish plot.

"That ain't nothing," he said last night. "Jews have bought everybody. J-E-W-S."

In the Barr-Linder race, both incumbent representatives, found themselves drawn together into the new 7th District by the Democrat-controlled state legislature.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Linder have nearly identical, strongly conservative voting records.

Mr. Barr is a feisty, outspoken figure, prominent on national talk shows, while the more low-key Mr. Linder was once a protege of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and secured endorsements from several House Republicans.

The primary race was full of back-and-forth accusations between the two men. Mr. Barr, a four-term incumbent, accused Mr. Linder of negative "push polling," and Mr. Linder, who has served five terms, shot back that Mr. Barr's radio ads falsely accused Mr. Linder of supporting the "homosexual agenda."

Mr. Barr, a member of the National Rifle Association, became the target of Linder campaign jokes after an antique handgun Mr. Barr was handling at a fund-raising event accidentally discharged.

Fellow Georgia Republican House members Mac Collins and Jack Kingston jumped into the fray this week, issuing a joint statement Monday saying Mr. Barr was falsely accusing Mr. Linder "of supporting the gay agenda, being soft on gun issues, abortion and other things important to conservatives." They said these characterizations are "absolutely untrue."

In other Georgia races, Rep. Saxby Chambliss defeated two opponents in the GOP Senate primary and will face freshman Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, who was unopposed.

In the governor's race, former state Sen. Sonny Perdue won the three-way GOP race to challenge first-term Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat.

With 79 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Perdue had 52 percent of the vote, state schools superintendent Linda Schrenko had 28 percent and former Cobb County commissioner Bill Byrne had 21 percent.

•This article is based in part on wire service reports.


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