A reporter for a local newspaper asked me to watch last night’s debate between Cynthia McKinney and her challenger, former County Commissioner Hank Johnson. That spurred me to write this week’s TAE Online column on what I hope is McKinney’s last election campaign.
Here’s the AJC’s account of the debate and the current state of the campaign. I think that McKinney performed better than Johnson in the debate, since she stuck to her talking points. Her goal was simply to attack him relentlessly, driving fence-sitters away from him (though how anyone could be sitting on the fence with a polarizing figure like McKinney around is beyond me). Johnson, who isn’t terribly forceful or fast on his feet, responded moderately well, but not well enough to score points effectively. Of course, all that matters to those for whom McKinney is anathema is that Johnson is the anti-McKinney, which seems to be true. He comes across as decent, well-meaning, and hard-working--a conventional liberal who will work pragmatically to get things done for his district.
Everything will turn, I think, on who turns out. Will McKinney, with little new money since the primary, be able to get her supporters to the polls? (She has in the past had a pretty good organization.) Will Johnson be able to make effective use of the money that has rolled in since he earned a spot in the run-off? My crystal ball has never been very good, but I think voters will give McKinney the boot.
Update: Here’s a blow-by-blow account of the debate, written by a Weekly Standard guy who thought Johnson won, barely. As I said, I don’t think the debate matters.
Update #2: Heres the analysis written by the reporter for the local paper.