Adding to a growing list of historic firsts this election cycle, Lucy McBath defeated Republican incumbent Karen Handel who had been elected to represent Georgia’s 6th Congressional District just last year.
The Associated Press called the close race for McBath on Thursday morning, who reportedly won by under 3,000 votes.
McBath’s win is significant for a number of reasons. Not only does her victory serve to increase the Democrats’ majority in the House, but she also won in a district that was largely seen as out of reach for Democrats—it was held by Republican Newt Gingrich for 20 years. The last Democrat to represent the district, Jack Flynt, lost his seat to Gingrich in 1979.
McBath will be the district’s first representative of color, who won in spite of being outspent by Handel, five to one. While the state’s high-profile gubernatorial race between another African-American woman, Stacey Abrams, and Georgia secretary of state Brian Kemp remains too close to call, the overarching success of Democratic candidates in what has long been a red state could be an indication that Georgia will have a purple tint in 2020.
Previously a spokesperson for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, McBath first gained national attention after her son Jordan Davis was killed in 2012 at a Florida gas station by a man who claimed he was playing his music too loudly. Davis’ death served as a central part of McBath’s campaign, whose platform included gun control and gun violence prevention. She had initially intended to run for state or local office, but decided to set her sights on Congress after the Parkland shooting in February of this year.
At a campaign event in October, McBath told supporters, “What I’m doing today is still mothering his legacy. I’m extending what I would do for my son to my community.”