Outspoken Incumbents Ousted In Ga.

Two of Georgia's most familiar faces - five-term Rep. Cynthia McKinney and Rep. Bob Barr - went down in defeat in Tuesday's primary elections.

Both are well-known for their outspoken views - although on opposite ends of the political spectrum - and both were familiar voices during the Clinton impeachment battle.

Now they'll share the experience of having to look for a job.

McKinney, who stunned even fellow Democrats by criticizing the Bush administration after Sept. 11, was ousted by a political unknown. Barr, a Republican, was bounced out of Congress by a fellow incumbent, in a contest affected by redistricting.

McKinney lost to Denise Majette, a Yale-educated former judge who had never run a statewide campaign before. With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Majette had 55,029 votes, or 60 percent; McKinney had 37,016 votes, or 40 percent.

Even before she won, the diminutive Majette was dancing at campaign headquarters. Standing on a platform so she could see over the podium, she told supporters: "I may only be 5-foot-1, but tonight I am 10 feet tall."

Majette, as winner of the primary, is almost assured of victory in November's general election in what is a heavily Democratic district.

Barr, a strident maverick who led the House impeachment of President Clinton, lost to soft-spoken Rep. John Linder. With 89 percent of precincts reporting, Rep. John Linder had 51,418 votes, or 67 percent. Barr had 25,515 votes, or 33 percent.

"We're just here this evening to congratulate John Linder for having run a very good race," said Barr, shaking the winner's hand. "We go into the fall race very much a united party."

Barr had been urged by party officials to seek re-election elsewhere but chose to run in a district that included much of Linder's old territory.

Barr - a former federal prosecutor who sits on the board of the National Rifle Association - was a favorite of the political right who counts among his supporters NRA President Charlton Heston, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes and retired Lt. Col. Oliver North.

Barr and McKinney became the seventh and eighth House incumbents ousted in a primary this year. The breakdown includes six Democrats and two Republicans.

Elsewhere Tuesday, Wyoming businessman Eli Bebout won the GOP primary to succeed term-limited GOP Gov. Jim Geringer. He will face Democrat Dave Freudenthal, a former federal prosecutor, this fall.

In other Georgia voting, White House-backed Rep. Saxby Chambliss defeated two opponents in the GOP primary and will face freshman Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in November. Cleland was unopposed.

Former state Sen. Sonny Perdue won the three-way GOP race to challenge Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, Perdue had 51 percent of the vote, state schools superintendent Linda Schrenko had 28 percent and former Cobb County commissioner Bill Byrne had 21 percent.

Barr and Linder had offered voters in the 7th District a stark choice in style, if not substance. Both men back tax cuts, gun rights and a ban on abortion, but their approaches could not be more different.

Barr, 53, was sent to Congress during the GOP landslide in 1994. He was the first to call for Clinton's impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky affair and later polished his independent image by questioning the Bush administration's expanded law enforcement efforts to combat terrorism.

Linder, 59, a former fundraiser for Newt Gingrich, is a quiet policy wonk who was fond of telling voters that the most effective lawmakers don't show up on talk shows every night - a clear dig at his opponent.

The real fireworks were in the 4th District, where McKinney accused Majette of opposing affirmative action and "selling out" to Republicans. Both are black women and liberals, but Majette is considered more moderate.

McKinney drew criticism after she suggested the Bush administration ignored warnings about Sept. 11 and said the president's friends in big business have benefited from the war on terrorism.

McKinney, a single mother and former college professor first elected to Congress in 1992, also said she would have accepted a Saudi prince's $10 million check for Sept. 11 victims. The check was rejected by then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani after the prince suggested U.S. policies toward the Mideast were partly to blame for the attacks.

Middle East politics played an unlikely role in the race. McKinney drew campaign financing from out of state, including money from pro-Arab groups, while Jewish groups helped fund Majette's campaign.

The race echoed the Alabama primary this year that cost Democratic Rep. Earl Hilliard his job. Hilliard received support from Arab groups after supporting a Palestinian state, while his young opponent had the backing of pro-Israel groups.

The 47-year-old McKinney had expected to draw most of the black vote. But Majette, 46, attracted support from Republicans, who are allowed to vote in the Democratic race under the state's open primary.

Members of Congress already ousted this year include Democrats Hilliard, Gary Condit of California, Frank Mascara of Pennsylvania, Tom Sawyer of Ohio and Lynn Rivers of Michigan. Rivers, Mascara and GOP Rep. Brian Kerns of Indiana all lost to fellow incumbents in primary races forced by redistricting.

Also in Wyoming, freshman GOP Sen. Mike Enzi easily won his primary and will face Democrat Joyce Corcoran this fall. Political newcomer Ron Akin won the Democratic nomination to challenge four-term GOP Rep. Barbara Cubin.

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