WASHINGTON - Every morning since she lost Georgia's U.S. Senate election nearly three weeks ago, Denise Majette has awakened to the same words of inspiration. They come from her compact disc-player alarm clock - more specifically, from a song by The Rolling Stones.
"You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need."
Those lyrics are fitting for a freshman congresswoman who gave up what seemed a certain re-election to the House to run what she knew was a longshot Senate bid against Republican Johnny Isakson.
Even though some of her closest friends questioned the move, Ms. Majette explained it was a leap of faith she made after several conversations with her pastor. In an interview with The Associated Press, Ms. Majette said she has no regrets, although she acknowledged she has often pondered why God had her pursue this path.
"Asking the question, 'Why?' - the why will get me to whatever the next thing is, whatever the future holds," Ms. Majette said. "In that respect, yes, there is an amount of reflection. Is it regret? No, not at all."
As for the future, Ms. Majette says she doesn't know what she'll do next. However, she is ruling out practically nothing, including another run for Congress or statewide office or a return to working as a judge.
Even though Ms. Majette managed to win only 40 percent of the vote in the statewide election, she said she found the results encouraging not only for her own political future, but also for other black women.
She said the election night losses for Democrats across the South had nothing to do with race and pointed out she got almost as many votes in Georgia as Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. In fact, no black or female candidate in Georgia history has received more total votes than Ms. Majette.
"We have demonstrated an African-American woman can run strong in a Southern state," she said. "I believe we have provided both some inspiration and some insight into the process and hope that others will pick up the baton and run with it."
Ms. Majette got into the campaign much later than Mr. Isakson and raised far less. She acknowledges that the lack of much financial help from national Democrats didn't help.
"I was disappointed, but when you look at what was going on before I got in the race, the Democratic Party had already abandoned the seat," Ms. Majette said. "It was a tough battle to try and convince the leadership this was something they should get involved in."