House Democrats’ campaign arm is planning to bolster its support for Lucy McBath, the gun control advocate taking on U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District this fall.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said Wednesday that it has added McBath to its Red to Blue program, which provides organizing and fundraising support to what it sees as its top-tier recruits for Republican-held seats. There are currently 59 candidates in the program.
The DCCC said McBath earned the extra support by “surpassing aggressive goals for grassroots engagement, local support and campaign organization.”
“During this campaign Lucy has shown herself to be not just a powerful advocate for gun safety, but also for the kind of affordable, quality health care that helped her beat breast cancer twice,” DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján said in a statement. “That compelling story is what drove her to victory in the primary, and with a strong grassroots campaign at her back, there is no question Lucy has what it takes to flip this district in November.”
The DCCC did not disclose how much it plans to spend in the 6th District, but the group’s new commitment comes a week after McBath defeated businessman Kevin Abel to secure the Democratic nomination in the suburban Atlanta U.S. House district.
The party had included the 6th and nearby 7th Congressional District on its broader list of 104 House targets for the midterms, but it largely sat on the sidelines in this summer’s Democratic primaries. Its increased investment in the 6th shows just how bullish Democrats feel about retaking control of the House this year.
Republicans say they aren’t sweating the situation in Georgia.
“Democrats spent tens of millions of dollars trying to defeat Karen Handel a year ago. It is truly confounding that Pelosi and her allies think they have a chance this year, when their spending is going to be spread thin across the country,” said Maddie Anderson, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Handel, R-Roswell, has spent the bulk of the year fundraising for her first reelection bid. She kicked off July with a formidable $1 million in the bank.
Her campaign fired its opening shot at McBath last week, riffing off many of the same arguments it deployed against Democrat Jon Ossoff in last year’s special election. It framed McBath as a carpetbagger beholden to liberal interests from outside the state and emphasized Handel’s votes on the tax cut and school safety legislation.
“Karen Handel has deep roots in our community and a record of actually delivering results for the working families of East Cobb, North Fulton, and DeKalb Counties,” said Mason Rainey, Handel’s campaign manager. “Ms. McBath, on the other hand — like Jon Ossoff last summer — has been bought and paid for by money from out-of-state donors with no connection to our community.”
Some of McBath’s previous Democratic challengers had questioned her for benefiting from Everytown for Gun Safety’s more than $1 million investment in the race – she previously worked as a spokeswoman for the gun control group– as well as voting in Tennessee in 2016. McBath said she briefly moved across the state line to be with her husband, who was going through a family emergency, but that she currently lives full-time in her longtime Marietta home.
The non-partisan political analysis site the Cook Political Report lists the 6th District as “lean Republican” in 2018.