Lucy McBath Wins Georgia Congressional Race Against Karen Handel

Note from Michael Kelly:

I made some small donations to help Democratic women in the election, and Ms. McBath in particular because she is from Georgia. I didn’t really know her story until now, and I think many in our community will find it moving.

I know that Congresswoman-elect McBath is just one of the many new Congress-people who ran because of some particular social event or issue that mobilized them. It gives me hope.

–Michael  

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Lucy McBath defeated the Republican incumbent, Karen Handel.CreditCreditLynsey Weatherspoon for The New York Times

By Astead W. Herndon (NYTimes.com)

Lucy McBath, the gun control and racial justice activist whose son was killed in a 2012 shooting, is now headed to Congress, after winning a razor-thin election decided Thursday morning.

Ms. McBath defeated the Republican incumbent Karen Handel, who only last year won a closely watched special election in the same Georgia district. Though Ms. Handel did not concede the race until Thursday morning, Ms. McBath, who is also a former Delta flight attendant, claimed victory in a statement released Wednesday. The Associated Press officially called the race for Ms. McBath on Thursday morning, with her lead at just under 3,000 votes.

“Six years ago I went from a Marietta mom to a mother on a mission,” she said, referencing her teenage son’s death. Jordan Davis, Ms. McBath’s son, was 17 when he was shot and killed by a white man at a gas station after refusing to turn down the volume of the rap music playing in his car. The man was later convicted of first-degree murder.

The win furthers the advantage in the House for Democrats, who could see more gains in several still-too-close-to-call races across the country. The district, once held by Newt Gingrich, was initially thought to have been out of reach for Democrats, but tightening polls in the campaign’s final weeks pushed the National Republican Campaign Committee, the House political arm, to run several new advertisements in the district in support of Ms. Handel.
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Ms. Handel won her seat during a special election in 2017.CreditCurtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via Associated Press

“It is clear I came up a bit short Tuesday,” Ms. Handel said on Thursday morning. “Congratulations to Representative-Elect Lucy McBath and send her only good thoughts and much prayer for the journey that lies ahead for her.”

Ms. McBath was once thought to be a long-shot candidate even among members of her own party, and had even first planned to run for state or local office. Now, she will be the first nonwhite person to represent Georgia’s Sixth District, a section of the state overwhelmingly filled with white and affluent voters.

[Read more about Ms. McBath here.]

“At the end of the day, whatever you think about me; whatever happens or whatever I become in the future, I’ll still always be Jordan’s mom,” Ms. McBath said during a campaign event last month.

Her win defies conventional wisdom of how minority candidates must campaign in order to gain traction in districts predominately composed of white voters. While some had advised Ms. McBath to dilute the most explicit parts of her son’s murder, she believed it was integral to telling an authentic story about her life and experiences, she said.

“What I’m doing today is still mothering his legacy,” Ms. McBath said last month. “I’m extending what I would do for my son to my community.”

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A13 of the New York edition with the headline: Winner Is Declared for Congressional Race in Georgia. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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