What’s next for the 4th?

As we saw last night, Cynthia McKinney is headed to a runoff in the District 4 Democrat primary against Hank Johnson who, Neal Boortz points out, is a fair tax supporter. Can McKinney win? In my opinion: YES. However, the Democrat voters of the 4th will be deciding for themselves in three weeks.

Whoever emerges from that runoff will be facing a Republican nominee who, in almost any other district, would be a dream GOP candidate. A black female Republican, challenger Catherine Davis says she is running because of McKinney’s “dismal legislative record and her outrageous behavior,


  1. Broty says:


    I agree with you about Ms. Davis’ chances in the 4th – a Republican won’t win it.

    But to assume that over 62,000 Democrats voted and only 8,828 Republicans voted is off. I’m sure there were a few Republicans/Independents who crossed over and voted in the Democrat primary for Mr. Johnson or (regretably) Mr. Coyne.

    Let’s hope they show back up on the 8th.

  2. Decaturguy says:

    Davis ran against McKinney in 2004 and got only 36% of the vote. That is about as much as she can get. She’ll get only about 25% if she runs against Johnson.

    However, I disagree with your assessment of Catherine Davis’ candidacy. Her campaign was so right wing last time that even Dekalb Republicans would have a hard time supporting her. I believe that a moderate or liberal Republican would have a chance to beat McKinney if he or she was moderate enough on social issues to draw some traditionally Democratic white voters in the 4th.

    Broty, I’m not so sure about how many Republicans crossed over this year. First of all, all of the Republican portions of Dekalb County were redistricted out of McKinney’s district by the Republican legislature last year. Second, Republican participation in the Republican Primary in the 4th District in 2000 (the year before McKinney’s comments about Bush) was similar to this year – 9,689 voters..

  3. Loren says:

    For those interested in Georgia’s ballot access restrictions, like Dignan and myself, it should be pointed out that Ms. Davis’ 8,828+ votes will get her name on the November ballot, whereas an independent or third party candidate would have been required to get over 16,000 voters’ signatures.

  4. Broty says:


    Fair point about Republican numbers – I forgot that Dunwoody and surrounding areas were now in the 6th. I bet that there were fewer crossovers compared to 2002 because of the Lt. Gov’s race this year but I’m sure there were a few.

    I’m still suspicous that a Republican, however moderate, can get elected to represent the 4th. The district is really designed for a democrat. But with McKinney looming over the district, it’s really hard to get a handle on what the 4th is really like. Once she’s no longer representing this district (either next year or in the future), it will be interesting to see how they electoral dynamics change.

  5. Decaturguy says:

    To clarify, I don’t think a moderate Republican could win this district against any Democrat other than Cynthia. But Davis is too conservative for the 4th to win, even against Cynthia.

    Some Democrats might be able to hold their nose and vote for a moderate against her though.

    If Cynthia goes down, however, Rudy Guliani couldn’t win this district.

  6. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Decatur, good points. Maybe I was a little unrealistic in expecting the electorate to support a conservative, rather than a moderate Republican or Democrat.

    I do think that the upcoming runoff and general election are being seen by many as a great opportunity to finally get a pulse on the district, and some will probably use this year to decide whether or not to write the 4h off once and for all as a McKinney-led lost cause.

  7. Loren says:

    I believe the closest House general election in the 4th District was in 1996, when McKinney beat John Mitnick 57.8% to 42.2%. A margin of 35,000 votes. And that was the election when Billy McKinney had to resign from her campaign for calling Mitnick a “racist Jew.”

    On the other hand, the widest margin was in 2002, with Majette against Cynthia Van Auken. Majette got 77% to Van Auken’s 23%, with a margin of nearly 83,000 votes.

    So it’s highly unlikely that a Republican could beat out Cynthia, but it’d be nearly inconceivable for a Republican to beat Hank.

    And it should be pointed out that the 4th is hardly unique in its partisan preference. In 2004, four other districts were won with margins of more than 25%, and another six districts were completely unopposed in the general election.

  8. Decaturguy says:

    Despite whether McKinney wins the runoff or if Johnson does, there will be lots of candidates looking at this race in 2008 because they smell blood.

    The highest amount McKinney has now received in a Democratic Primary in the past 3 elections is 50.8% (in 2004). That pretty much sucks for any incumbent in their own party primary.

  9. caroline says:

    Well, for heaven’s sake, if you don’t want McKinney to be reelected, keep Boortz out of it. If Boortz gets involved with trying to help her opposition, McKinney will roll over him..

  10. carolyn says:

    The mere image of McKinney awkwardly dancing the electric slide makes me wake up at night screaming. People in Washington think everyone in GA is like Cynthia. I am a conservative in the 13th district but I would consider giving money to Johnson anyway, just to get McKinney out of office. I agree that the GOP candidate in the 4th has zero chance of winning.

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