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Karen Handel Concedes in Race for Full Term in Georgia’s 6th District

Handel came to Congress after expensive special election last year

GOP Rep. Karen Handel lost her bid for a full term in Georgia’s 6th District. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
GOP Rep. Karen Handel lost her bid for a full term in Georgia’s 6th District. (By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats this week did what they failed to do in last year’s expensive special election: flip Georgia’s 6th District. 

Republican Rep. Karen Handel, who won that June 2017 special election to fill the open seat in the Atlanta suburbs and was running for her first full term this year, conceded Thursday morning to gun control activist Lucy McBath.

“After carefully reviewing all of the election results data, it is clear that I came up a bit short on Tuesday. Congratulations to Representative-Elect Lucy McBath and send her only good thoughts and much prayer for the journey that lies ahead for her,” Handel said in a message to supporters.

“In this country, no loss, no failure, is ever final nor is it the end. God has a plan for each and every one of us,” Handel said. “Sometimes, though, HIS plan and our plan are different. So, Steve and I will be put our faith in Him and trust that whatever lies ahead will be exactly what we need.”

The Associated Press has not yet called the race. With all precincts reporting, McBath led Handel 50.46 percent to 49.54 percent. 

McBath declared victory Wednesday night.

“The voters responded to my commitment to put aside partisan fights for the good of the American people,” she said in a statement. “Six years ago, I went from a Marietta mom to a mother on a mission. After my son was lost to gun violence, I stood up and started demanding more. After Parkland, I was compelled to enter this race for Congress — to provide leadership that would be about the business of putting lives over profit. I vow to make that my top priority.”

McBath had been the national spokeswoman for advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety but is currently on an unpaid leave of absence. Her son was shot and killed at a gas station in Florida in 2012 by a man who complained his music was too loud.

This race attracted much less national attention and money than it did last year, when the special election between Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff became the most expensive House race in history.

But national Republicans made a late investment in the 6th District last month. The National Republican Congressional Committee reserved $1.4 million for TV ads on Atlanta broadcast. McBath had outraised Handel and was benefiting from millions of dollars in outside spending from gun rights groups. 

— Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.Watch: Pelosi Spoke With Trump About How They Can Work Together

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