African American gun control advocate scores major upset in Georgia House race
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 11/12/2018, 10:30 a.m.
Earlier this month, Our Weekly featured a cover story on the fact that so many women were excelling in politics, business, sports and entertainment. One of those ladies mentioned was Lucy McBath, a Black mother whose son was shot and killed in Florida by a white man who claimed his music was too loud.
McBath decided to run for a seat in the Georgia house, and last week she won that seat in what is being called a “major upset,” reports NBC News. McBath took out Karen Handel, a Republican candidate who had been in that seat since last years after a special election. A gun control advocate Lucia “Lucy” McBath won her race for Congress in Georgia’s long-red 6th District. On Wednesday (Nov. 7) midday, McBath declared victory in the very tight race, reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution, though Handel didn’t concede until Thursday morning.
McBath, a political newcomer, upset Handel, who beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in last year’s special election. McBath’s victory in the suburban Atlanta district, long a Republican stronghold, could be seen as a turning point for Democrats seeking to change the state from red to purple. McBath’s district, much like the rest of Georgia, has grown increasingly diverse in recent years, with more people of color, and likely Democrats, moving in. McBath’s race also may have reflected Americans’ evolving views on gun control. She campaigned on a bold gun control platform in a state with gun-friendly laws in the heart of the Deep South, which has some of the nation’s highest rates of gun ownership.
McBath, 58, was thrust into the national spotlight in 2012, when her Black 17-year-old son Jordan Davis as shot dead at a Florida gas station by a white man complaining about loud music. The killer claimed he was justified under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but a jury convicted him of first-degree murder. McBath later became a spokesperson for gun safety group Moms Demand Action. After the Parkland, Florida, school mass shooting in February, she set her sights on Congress. McBath was part of a record wave of women ― specifically women of color ― nominated for public office in the 2018 elections. On Nov.8, she joined the unprecedented number of women to be elected to the U.S. House.
A two-time breast cancer survivor who worked for decades as a flight attendant, McBath also campaigned for more affordable health care and a higher minimum wage. Her platform called for “common-sense” gun control measures, like background checks, restricting purchases for anyone with a domestic violence history and raising the age to purchase any gun to 21. McBath’s district, while majority Republican, tended to lean moderate, with a highly educated and relatively affluent population. The district was previously represented by Republicans Newt Gingrich and Tom Price, but only narrowly went for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. “This is just not your grandfather’s Georgia,” Alabama-based Democratic pollster Zac McCrary told HuffPost last month, adding that the state was “becoming more Democratic by the day.”