Political Insider

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Jokes, cameras, rituals mark Karen Handel's first day on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON — There was a brief photo-op with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a few formalities from U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a hug and then an oath.

The whole affair took less than half an hour. And just like that, Karen Handel made Georgia history, becoming the state’s first Republican congresswoman.

Monday evening’s events on the House floor were a coda, an end to the state’s omnipresent 6th Congressional District contest, the most expensive U.S. House race of all time and certainly one of the hardest fought.

Handel ended it at a microphone, quipping to her 400-plus new colleagues, “I’m not sure you’ve heard enough about this particular race.”

“This is an extraordinary honor and the greatest privilege that I think I have ever had,” she said in a brief introductory speech, “and I look forward to serving the people of the 6th District, to serving the people of Georgia and to being a good co-worker and friend to each and every one of you.”

The event capped off a whirlwind week for Handel, who went from the campaign trail in the north Atlanta suburbs to setting up her Capitol Hill office all within a matter of days.

Read more about Handel's first day in Washington on myAJC. 

Additional 6th District coverage: 

Watch Karen Handel get sworn in as Georgia’s first GOP congresswoman

Handel cracks Georgia GOP ‘glass ceiling’

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About the Author

Tamar Hallerman is The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent, covering Congress, federal agencies and other government activities that impact Georgia.