- A political upstart is receiving a surge of Jewish backing
in his bid to unseat 30-year Georgia state representative Billy McKinney,
the father of ousted U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney.
- Mr. McKinney, 75, finds himself the target of the Atlanta-area
Jewish community after his most recent disparagement of Jews, which has
bolstered the campaign coffers of his challenger in the Democratic primary,
- Asked about his daughter's ailing campaign the day before
her defeat in the Aug. 20 primary, Mr. McKinney said, "Jews have bought
everybody. Jews. J-E-W-S."
- Mr. McKinney faces the 31-year-old Mr. Noel in Tuesday's
runoff election. Mr. McKinney picked up 48 percent of the vote on Aug.
20 to Mr. Noel's 46 percent, forcing the runoff. The winner will have the
seat, since there is no Republican challenger.
- Mr. Noel, a self-employed lighting contractor, has received
calls from Jewish voters in the state's 44th District, asking if they can
help him defeat Mr. McKinney. Fund-raisers in the community have raised
nearly $15,000 for the challenger, and the contributions continue to flow.
- "Yes, they want to help, and I have received a considerable
chunk of money from Jewish supporters," said Mr. Noel, who is not
- Mr. McKinney's record of attacks on Jews, including a
1996 episode in which he referred to his daughter's Republican opponent
as a "racist Jew," has not affected the black politician's career
in the 60 percent black district. The former police officer has often run
for re-election unopposed.
- "I wasn't even going to make it a campaign issue,
but it has become one," said Mr. Noel, who is white. "But in
this case, it was Billy McKinney who made it an issue."
- Mr. McKinney did not return several calls seeking comment.
- Sherry Frank, Southeast area director for the American
Jewish Committee, said the Jewish community, which makes up about 5 percent
of the district in metropolitan Atlanta, is clearly angry about the comments.
- "He has gotten out of control with his anti-Semitism,
so Jews have reason to want him out. Individual Jews are urging folks to
give [Mr. Noel] money, just as blacks are urging to get out the vote for
Billy. The question is whether [the Jewish bloc] will succeed."
- The Anti-Defamation League last week issued a press release
condemning Mr. McKinney's August remark, calling it "classic anti-Semitism."
- When Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan visited Atlanta
on Aug. 17 to support Mrs. McKinney, her father sat by his side during
a rally, further alienating Jewish followers.
- The Jewish effort to turn back Mr. McKinney is augmented
by the same group of activists that assembled a grass-roots effort to oust
Mrs. McKinney, a Democrat who lost her 4th District seat to state Judge
- Mrs. McKinney attributed her loss to a coalition of Republicans
who voted in the open Democratic primary and upscale blacks who saw her
as too liberal. Her pro-Palestinian views also prompted an outpouring of
Jewish money to Mrs. Majette, who is expected to defeat easily in November
the Republican challenger selected in a run-off Tuesday.
- Further alienating her constituents, the five-term lawmaker
in March accused President Bush of having advance knowledge of the September
- Mrs. McKinney's father has staunchly supported her, and,
in turn, now draws the same ire from the community as his daughter.
- Goodbyebilly.com is a Web site operated by the people
who put up goodbyecynthia.com, sites that feature anti-McKinney messages
and solicits contributions and volunteers.
- "We are trying for daddy now," said William
Head, an Atlanta criminal defense attorney who organized the effort to
remove Mrs. McKinney.
- "I am so Democratic it would make you sick, but
there is no room for the McKinneys in politics," Mr. Head said. "And
Billy McKinney shot himself in the foot."
- Mr. Head spent about $10,000 in his effort to defeat
Mrs. McKinney. Volunteers knocked on doors, handed out fliers and made
phone calls in support of Mrs. Majette.
- "Billy McKinney spent so much time supporting his
daughter, he hasn't been carrying on his own campaign,'' Mr. Head said.
''So the question for his supporters is whether they have enough horses
to pull this through.''