GOP Rep. Karen Handel concedes to Democratic challenger Lucy McBath in a tight race for the Georgia House seat once held by Newt Gingrich

  • GOP Rep. Karen Handel concedes to Democratic challenger Lucy McBath in the tight Georgia 6th District special election.
  • It adds another seat takeover for Democrats as they try to pad their projected House majority.
Lucy McBath
Source: Lucy McBath for Congress
Lucy McBath

Republican Rep. Karen Handel conceded to Democratic challenger Lucy McBath in Georgia's tight 6th District election on Thursday.

McBath is a gun control activist. Her son was shot and killed at a gas station in 2012 over a dispute about loud music.

After losing a widely watched special election for the suburban Atlanta seat last year, Democrats appear to have flipped it from red to blue. NBC News later declared McBath the apparent winner in Georgia's 6th District.

In a tweeted statement, Handel said it is clear that I came up a bit short on Tuesday." She congratulated McBath and said that "I send her only good thoughts and much prayer for the journey that lies ahead for her."

Handel's concession adds another expected seat pickup for Democrats, who are projected to comfortably win control of the House after Tuesday's midterm elections.

Handel won the seat last year after Tom Price was tapped to be secretary of Health and Human Services in the Trump administration. Republican former House Speaker Newt Gingrich held the seat for 20 years, after succeeding Jack Flynt, the last Democrat to represent the district, in 1979.

Price resigned from his HHS post in September 2017 amid concerns about misuse of taxpayer money on private flights. He had pledged to pay back a portion of the cost of the flights and said he regretted that his conduct created concerns about the misuse of taxpayer dollars.

The district drew national attention — and a flood of campaign money from both sides – in a widely watched special election in 2017.

With some $8.4 million in campaign funds, Handel outspent McBath by 5 to 1. The race also drew $3 million more in outside spending.

The district went for Trump in 2016 by a slim 1.5-point margin after heavily supporting Republicans Mitt Romney in 2012 and John McCain in 2008 by double digits.

The median household income in 2017 was slightly less than the median for all districts, and the median age, at 37.8, is about in line.

— Correction: This story was updated to reflect that the median age of Georgia's 6th District was 37.8.