The Alabama 7th was a heated race. Both men are African-American and had bases in the black community. But Davis was able to raise money in the white community, as well, particularly among Jewish voters. It was this Jewish support for Davis that made some of the ugly headlines for Hilliard, who criticized his opponent’s source of financial backing. In the end, Davis beat Hilliard soundly, 56% to 44%.
And that has the Black Caucus nervous, because another of its members, Cynthia McKinney, she of the “George W. Bush knew of September 11th attacks beforehand, but didn’t do anything so his friends could make money off the tragedy” conspiracy theory, is facing a tough August 20 primary vote against an opponent who is virtually identical to Davis.
“I think if the election is held today, Cynthia wins because she’s the incumbent,” says a member of the Caucus, who asked not be named. “Two months from now? I don’t know. Cynthia’s got herself a bit of a fight.”
This is the first time in six years that McKinney has faced a primary challenge, and it’s the first time a black female Democrat has run against her in the DeKalb County, Georgia district. The challenger is Denise Majette, a former DeKalb County State Court judge, who is considered a moderate.
What has the Black Caucus upset is that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee refused to step into the Georgia race to dissuade Majette from running. “The campaign committee didn’t do it for Rep. Hilliard, we weren’t going to do it for Rep. McKinney,” says a House campaign committee staffer. “We try not to get into the middle of these kinds of things.”
“If this was Dick Gephardt facing a primary challenge, you damn well know the party would be doing something,” said the Black Caucus member. “If this was Nancy Pelosi, they’d be doing something.”
And, in fact, the Democrats have been taking sides in the McKinney-Majette race, but not in the way the Black Caucus would like. Very quietly, Democratic House leader Dick Gephardt has steered some Democratic donor money toward Majette’s campaign, while cutting McKinney a check from his own leadership PAC. Similar back door assistance for Majette has also come from Rep. Martin Frost of Texas.
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