While Republicans have their congressional runoff tonight in Alabama, next week it will be the Democrats back in the spotlight in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District as Lucy McBath and Kevin Abel face off in a runoff to win the right to take on GOP Rep. Karen Handel.
The 2017 special election in that district became the center of the political world just one year ago, as well as the most expensive House race in American history.
After Democrats lost their chance to flip the once-reliably red seat, interest in the seat faded. Now, Democratic voters in the Atlanta-area district will choose their nominee for another shot to take the seat.
McBath won 36 percent of the vote in the May primary, more than any of the four Democrats running, while Abel secured the second spot in the runoff with 30.5 percent of the vote. The two were forced to a runoff when no candidate could win the majority of the vote.
The campaign is not McBath’s first time in the public eye. She’s become a prominent gun control advocate after the death of her son, Jordan Davis. Davis was shot by a man who complained about Davis and his friends playing loud music from their car. The killer was sentenced to life in prison on charges related to the shooting.
Abel, who was born in South Africa, owns his own technology consulting firm with his wife. During his campaign, he’s also touted his experience volunteering in the community, including with a non-profit that helps to resettle refugees.
Abel has raised $820,500 compared to McBath’s $313,700. But McBath had a slim, $20,000 advantage in cash on hand as of July 4.
The winner of Tuesday’s runoff will go on to face Handel, who has stockpiled $1 million away for her general election while her possible opponents battled it out.
Handel is no stranger to a tough campaign — Republicans and Democrats spent a record-breaking $45 million during her 2017 special election against Democrat Jon Ossoff, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Democrats ultimately fell short by almost 4 percentage points, a disappointing result but an improvement in a district that has long been in Republican hands. Then-Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price vacated the seat to join the Trump administration but stepped down after scrutiny of his travel spending.
Since then, Democrats have built on their trend of over-performing with the kinds of affluent and educated suburban voters who call the Atlanta-area district home.
That said, Handel likely has the edge thanks both to the power of incumbency, but also the fact that Democrats won’t devote nearly as much attention or resources to the race with such a large battlefield in play.