And the battle for the 4th is truly joined.....
7:30: Here we go. Morse Diggs once again. Same format as previous dabate. Same panel as previous debate. Let's rock and roll!
7:33 - Johnson is asked about a McKinney attack flier. Hadn't seen this one but it's pretty nasty! Johnson says it was a desperate act of a desperate candidate but admits allegations are partially correct. That's a bad start! Says it was a humbling experience. He can relate to constituents in a tight squeeze. This is getting ugly already.
7:35 - McKinney asked about being desperate. McKinney comes right back that he has not paid all his creditors! Accused him of taking funds from landfill owners. Johnson completely denies this charge.
7:36 - To McKinney. Asked about being an embarassment costing her votes. She states she was never charged. Brags about her congressional scorecard being the highest in the Georgia delegation. She's really reacting to the accusation of not representing her district.
7:37 - Johnson ask about McKinney missing votes including voting on Arabia Mountain right here in Dekalb County. Also she didn't vote on the voting rights act! Can that be right? Have to check that. What is important enough for her to show up? McKinney fires back that she has a 94% voting record. McKinneny says that Republicans are trying to dictate what's going on in this district. Johnson responds that his funds are coming from Democrats.
7:39 - McKinney asked about Johnson's ad saying he would bring sound judgment. Would it be sound judgment to take landfill funds while he was a commissioner, filing bankruptcy, not paying taxes. Johnson responds that its a desperate move again and goes back to saying McKinney has not had any prominent legislation to help her district. McKinney accuses him of being given talking points. She brings back up Congress report cards that show her better than even John Lewis.
7:41 - McKinney asks the judgment question again except this time in the frameworks about values and adds he has received 16000 from Republicans. Johnson responds McKinney's money mostly comes from out of state and ask who controls her. Ouch!
7:42 - Johnson says McKinney accuses him of representing outside interests while her contributions mostly come from Vegas and L.A. Vegas?!?! McKinney says she represents the people. She doesn't represents developers and Republicans. Her campaign is financed by the people. Johnson denies taking landfill contributions again but kind of admits taking developer money. This is like a heavyweight fight. Body blow. Body Blow. McKinney actually brought up the recent water main break and how Johnson allowing overdevelopment is ruining the community. OUCH!
7:45 - McKinney asked why she didn't attend earlier debates. Basically it didn't fit her schedule but she and Johnson have debated previously in other venues.
7:46 - McKinney asked about Barnes support of Johnson and Taylor's non-endorsement. McKinney says Taylor is running his race and she is running hers then pivots nicely back to Johnson taking money from Republicans. Johnson responds that the Republicans contributions were a small portion. Brags that he got money from Bernie Marcus, the guy that built the aquarium hee.
7:48 - Johnson asked about political differences between him and McKinney. He will build consensus. He will work with Republicans including the Georgia delegation. She can't work with people. She can't get anything done. McKinney fires right back that he supports Republicans and that he in fact IS a Republican. There is a weird dynamic here. But this is the 4th!
7:50 - Johnson asked if people really know what issues he stands for. His been talking about it since January and then reels off his campaign points. With each one he reels off that McKinney allegedly is never there to vote. My goodness!
7:51 - McKinney responds she got 500 people a job. 500 people? She brings back the sewage spill! But gets in a nice dig again about overdevelopment.
7:52 - Johnson asked to give specifics about education. He stumbles by talking about universal health care. That should make the libertarians shudder. He takes a jab at the 500 jobs McKinney claims to have created. Then more campaign talking points. Go to his web site to find these, my fingers aren't paid enough to repeat them.
7:53 - McKinney on builders again. Because of Johnson's cozy relationship with builders kids have to go to school in trailers. Says the jobs she created are real due to recent legislation and claims Johnson has been given talking points that need to be updated. SNAP!
Final thoughts: I think they actually cut that one a little short but who could blame Morse Diggs! WHEW! That lived up to everything advertised. I have to say Cynthia McKinney was the clear winner here. She needed to get out the message that she cares about the district and brings home the bacon. Even though it was a little strange to talk about only 500 jobs and a water main break that probably had nothing to do with Hank Johnson, it was a savvy ploy to show her constituents that she knows what's going on in Dekalb as recently as two days ago. She repeatedly slammed Hank about his fiscal hardships and relationship with business and development. She basically succeeded at painting him as a stealth Republican. The bottom line is this had the feel of a general election debate instead of a primary debate. Which given Dekalb's demographics makes perfect sense.
Will this change votes on Tuesday? I don't know. I know it's not enough to change mind but it may make me think a bit.