A pair of first-time female candidates — one a prominent gun control activist, and the other a college professor — won the Democratic nomination for two suburban Atlanta congressional seats Tuesday, securing spots on the November ballot to face incumbent GOP Reps. Karen Handel and Rob Woodall.
In Georgia’s 6th Congressional District — which includes parts of Cobb, DeKalb and Fulton counties — Lucy McBath defeated businessman Kevin Abel in the Democratic primary runoff to take on Handel.
And in the state’s 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux bested businessman David Kim for the nomination to face Woodall.
McBath and Bourdeaux are part of a record number of women who ran for the U.S. House in this year’s midterm elections.
“A lot of the energy is with women right now,” Bourdeaux said late Tuesday. “Women are particularly offended by Donald Trump and are very deeply concerned that issues they care about are on the chopping block.”
Bourdeaux, 48, ran a health-care-focused campaign that called for protecting Obamacare, expanding Medicaid in Georgia and granting Medicare the purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices.
Saying Trump’s election played a big role in her decision to run for office, Bourdeaux also campaigned on equal pay for men and women while promoting women’s health care, abortion rights and paid family medical leave. She picked up support from U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young.
Six Democrats stepped forward this spring to challenge Woodall. Bourdeaux quickly emerged as the field’s top fundraiser. After securing the plurality but not the majority of votes in the May 22 Democratic primary, she went toe to toe against Kim, who self-funded much of his campaign.
McBath, 58, a former Delta Air Lines flight attendant from Marietta, became a national gun control advocate after her teenage son was fatally shot following a dispute over loud music. She has served as a spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. And she has used her powerful story to advocate for stronger firearms laws on cable news and at statehouses, the White House, and even the Democratic National Convention in 2016, where she and other “mothers of the movement” stumped for Hillary Clinton.
Further, McBath has frequently discussed her past bouts with breast cancer and the need to protect the Affordable Care Act and women’s health care access, including abortion rights. Like Bourdeaux, she won the endorsement of Emily’s List, a political action committee that backs Democratic women who support abortion rights.
McBath and Abel were forced into a runoff after emerging as the two top vote-getters in a field of four Democratic primary candidates opposing Handel.
“Lucy McBath’s journey is an inspiration, particularly to those who’ve lost a loved one to gun violence, know the pain and fear of fighting an awful disease like cancer, or hoped to turn their grief into action and make change,” said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “Georgia’s 6th Congressional District will be far better off with Lucy’s voice and advocacy in Congress, as she works to make communities safer and ensure that all Georgians have access to affordable health care.”