There were so many upsets in this past mid-term election, that it’s hard to keep up with them all.
This story, the story of Lucy McBath stands taller than any of the others in my opinion. Never in a thousand years would I have thought Georgia’s 6th District would go blue. The racial makeup of the county in 2010 62.2% White, 25.0% Black, 0.3% Native American, 4.5% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 5.3% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 14.3% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are several reasons why I marvel at her success by winning this Congressional seat in “red” state Georgia during last year’s mid-term.
First, if you don’t know her story behind why she chose to get into politics in the first place, you should know it because it’s so profound it gives you goose bumps. Her son was brutally murdered at a gas station, while with some of friends, by a white man who said their music was too loud. The shooter used Florida’s stand-your-ground law as his defense. He was not found guilty of murder in his first trial. In an October 2014 retrial, the shooter was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
Second, to choose to run in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia was about a gutsy as anything a black person could think of. The 6th District, is an affluent suburb North of Atlanta in Cobb County, mainly white. My old district when I lived in Cobb County Georgia. It’s Newt Gingrich’s old district, Tom Price’s old district, the disgraced Health and Human Services Director appointed by trump. It was always held by a white male until Karen Handel in 2017.
The story of Karen Handel is unflattering to put it mildly. While I was living in Georgia, I followed her and her politics very closely. Briefly, Karen Christine Handel Walker; businesswoman, politician, and member of the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 6th congressional district. In 2017, she became the first Republican woman from Georgia elected to Congress after defeating Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in a special election to fill Tom Price‘s vacancy in Georgia’s 6th congressional district; this special election remains the most expensive congressional race in American history. In the recent 2018 election, Handel lost the election to a full term to Democrat Lucy McBath.
Handel previously served as Secretary of State of Georgia. A member of the Republican Party, Handel worked in business before entering politics. First elected in 2003, she chaired the Fulton County Board of Commissioners until 2006, and then was elected and served as Georgia’s Secretary of State from 2007 to 2010.
In 2011, Handel was appointed Senior Vice President of public policy at Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a charity in the cause of fighting breast cancer, and left on February 7, 2012, following the foundation’s controversial decision to eliminate and then later restore funding for Planned Parenthood, an organization to which she was opposed. Handel sought a second term in the 2018 midterm elections but was defeated by Democratic challenger Lucy McBath.
Finally, to beat Karen Handel after Handel trounced John Ossoff in the special election this year for Tom Price’s old seat, is nothing short of miraculous to me. John Ossoff was a great candidate and ran a great campaign, but even he couldn’t unseat Karen Handel. Never in a million years would I have thought that district would go blue, not to mention going blue with the seat being won by a black woman. The districts demographics haven’t changed believe it or not. It’s still predominantly white and Republican. What has changed is obviously the number of forward-thinking white voters who decided – in this year of the women – to look beyond their past political biases and cast their ballots for the (best) candidate. This is very encouraging to say the least.
My only regret is that voted in the district for thirty years and never, nor did I think I would ever have, the opportunity to vote for a man or women of color with the hope of them winning. It took courage – inspired in part by the tragic death of her son I am sure – for her to run and answer her calling to do something to try and help make a difference in our society’s woes.
Now a newly appointed member to House of Representatives 116th Congress Rules Committee by the Honorable Nancy Pelosi and twice elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. How awesome.
My new hero, Lucy McBath.