Lucy McBath, a former flight attendant and gun control advocate whose son, Jordan Davis, was killed in a racist shooting in 2012, has won election to Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. GOP incumbent Rep. Karen Handel conceded the race on Thursday morning, after McBath claimed victory on Wednesday.
McBath and Handel’s race came down to the wire, with McBath taking a slight lead of less than 3,000 votes on Wednesday morning. Her election is a key pickup for the Democrats, who have already secured a House majority in the next Congress.
McBath first became involved in politics as a result of the death of her son. His shooter, a white man named Michael Dunn, complained that Davis and his friends were playing music too loudly while parked at a gas station before the crime. He was sentenced to life without parole for the killing. Following the tragedy, McBath left her job as a flight attendant to campaign for gun reform full time with Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
McBath originally intended to just run for a seat in the state legislature, but changed her mind after the Parkland shooting.
It was then that she knew she needed to do more, McBath told CNN.
“It’s just not enough to have the marches and the rallies and the speeches and the remarks,” she said. “Championing for them in Washington is still championing for my child, I’m still a mother, I’m still parenting. That’s why I believe this was the time to stand up.”
Notably, McBath has won a district (which was once represented by Newt Gingrich) that was home to the most expensive special election in American history last year, in which Handel narrowly defeated moderate Democrat Jon Ossoff. McBath was significantly outspent by Handel in the campaign, but was able to do this year what Democrats weren’t in the last round: win.
McBath supports general Democratic policies like an expansion of Medicaid, a public option, and the DREAM Act, but her key focus has remained gun control. “Every legislator has something or a series of policies that they’re very passionate about,” she told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “You work on all of them. But there are some that you’re known for. That you continue to champion for. And that is what we need in Washington.”
Now, she’s headed there.