Lucia “Lucy” McBath, who became a gun control activist after her son Jordan Davis was brutally murdered at a Florida gas station by a white man in 2012, finished first in her Democratic congressional primary in Georgia last night, ensuring her a spot in a forthcoming runoff.
McBath, a cofounder of the Mothers of the Movement and a faith and outreach leader for Everytown for Gun Safety who helped plan the March for Our Lives, is running for the Democratic nomination in Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District, which is currently represented by Republican Karen Handel. You might remember both the district and Handel from last year’s high-profile special election, which saw Handel defeat moderate Democrat Jon Ossoff.
But Donald Trump won this district by less than two points, and seeing as how Handel is a congressional newcomer, the seat could very much be in play in November. And what makes McBath’s win even more impressive is that she has only been running for this seat for a little over two months. She was in the middle of a campaign for a seat in the state legislature when the Parkland shooting happened, and in early March, she changed her mind and decided to run for Congress instead. In contrast to Ossoff, McBath is running a fairly progressive campaign focused on gun control and healthcare; she supports, for example, a public option and lowering the Medicare age to 55.
McBath, who was endorsed by Everytown and EMILY’s List, finished first atop a field of four with 37 percent of the vote, followed by businessman Kevin Abel, who got 30 percent and will face McBath in the July runoff. Bobby Kaple, a former news anchor who was endorsed by former Atlanta mayor and UN ambassador Andrew Young as well as former governor Roy Barnes and former Senator Max Cleland, finished third.
Here’s some other highlights from Georgia and three other states that held elections on Tuesday night:
- Former state representative Stacey Abrams easily won the Georgia Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday night over a fellow state representative and Stacey, Stacey Evans, making her the first black woman to be a major party’s nominee for governor in the history of the United States of America. Let that sink in.
- On the Republican side of the Georgia gubernatorial race will be a runoff between current lieutenant governor Casey Cagle and secretary of state Brian Kemp. While Abrams has an uphill battle—Georgia hasn’t elected a Democratic governor in 20 years—a poll released last week showed Abrams trailing Cagle by just five points, and having the Republican primary dragged out probably won’t help whoever ends up as the eventual nominee.
- In Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District, former Marine pilot Amy McGrath soundly defeated establishment-backed Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in the Democratic primary, and will face three-term Republican incumbent Andy Barr in November. The New York Times reported that McGrath’s internal polling in December said she was 47 points behind Gray, who was encouraged to run for the seat by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. (“Amy McGrath ran a tremendous race to win this competitive primary and could not be in a stronger position to win in November,” DCCC chairman Ben Ray Lujan said in a statement after McGrath’s win.)
- A Kentucky teacher upset the state’s House majority leader in the Republican primary after the legislature passed an anti-worker pension reform bill earlier this year. Read more about that here.
- Texas held its primaries in March, but saw several important runoff elections on Tuesday. In the runoff for the Democratic nomination for governor, former Dallas County sheriff Lupe Valdez became the first Latina nominee and the first openly gay nominee of a major party for governor in Texas, but incumbent Republican governor Greg Abbott is heavily favored to win re-election.
- In Texas’ Seventh Congressional District, Lizzie Pannill Fletcher routed Laura Moser in the runoff to face incumbent Republican John Culberson. The seat is seen as a prime Democratic pickup opportunity in its goal of retaking the House; previous DCCC involvement in the race to try to tank Moser’s candidacy had the reverse effect of helping to propel her to the runoff in the first place. The backlash, however, wasn’t sustained enough to help her beat Pannill Fletcher.
- Two other DCCC-endorsed candidates in Texas congressional primaries won their runoffs on Tuesday night: Air Force intelligence officer Gina Ortiz Jones in the 23rd Congressional District and former civil rights attorney and NFL linebacker Colin Allred in the 32nd Congressional District. Ortiz Jones will face incumbent Republican Will Hurd, who barely won re-election in 2016, while Allred will square off against incumbent Republican Pete Sessions, in a district that Democrats didn’t contest in 2016 but which narrowly went for Hillary Clinton.