Cynthia McKinney - Rotten Tomatoes

Cynthia McKinney

Highest Rated:   75% American Blackout (2006)
Birthday:  
Birthplace:   Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Known for her fiery rhetoric and willing to court controversy, Cynthia McKinney is one of the most widely known members of the United States Congress. She is the daughter of Billy and Leola McKinney, an ambitious couple with high hopes for their daughter. Her father was a policeman, at a time when that was dangerous for an African-American, and her mother was a nurse. In 1972, her family became prominent when Billy McKinney was elected to the state House of Representatives. In school, she was a capable and strong-willed student and is known for taking after her outspoken father. She attended college in California, graduating with a Masters of Art in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy. Her political career began unexpectedly in 1986 when her father submitted her name as a write-in candidate for state Representative in a district near his. To her surprise, she polled some 40%, and encouraged by her showing, she moved to Atlanta, Georgia and ran in 1988. She won that election, and immediately made an impact for a combative demeanor and left wing views. She was not popular with most of her colleagues, but was secure in her district. In 1992, redistricting created a new, African-American majority district, and she ran. After some difficulty, she won the Democratic primary against more moderate opponents. In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled that her district was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, and a new district centered on African-American dominated DeKalb County, a suburban county northeast of Atlanta. She moved there and won with little fuss. Her outspoken ways generated some negative publicity, as did her anti-Israeli, pro-Arab views on foreign policy. She faced a serious challenge in 1996, and was embarrassed when her father called her Republican opponent "a racist Jew", but won comfortably. She won the next two elections without incident, but after terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in New York City, she caused an uproar when she claimed that President George W. Bush had prior knowledge of the impending attacks. In 2002 she was challenged in the Democratic primary by DeKalb County Judge Denise Majette, who attacked McKinney for frequent foreign travel in office and accused her of ineffectiveness. McKinney and was soundly defeated. Her father was defeated that same year, after 30 years in the state legislature. Her political career seemed to be over, but in 2004, Majette ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. McKinney sought to return to Congress and succeeded. In the beginning of her new term, she kept a low profile and managed to avoid controversy. However, in early 2006, she made negative headlines again. When a Capitol Hill security guard didn't recognize her and blocked her from entering Congress, she struck him with her cell phone and cursed him. She generated criticism around the country and embarrassed her own party's leadership. After initially accusing the guard of racism, she backed down and apologized. However, the incident just reminded her constituents of why they had rejected her before. In the 2006 Democratic primary runoff, she lost to DeKalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson by an even larger margin than she had lost to Majette in 2002. This appears to be the end of her career in elected office.

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