Democratic Poll Shows Tight Race in Georgia’s 6th District

GOP Rep. Karen Handel faces Democrat Lucy McBath in November

Democrat Lucy McBath, here at an April event in New York City with congressional candidates, is challenging GOP Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District. (Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images file photo)

Democrat Lucy McBath, who became politically active after losing her teenage son to gun violence, was in a tight race with Republican Rep. Karen Handel in Georgia’s 6th District, a poll conducted for the Democrat’s campaign found. 

Handel led McBath 49 percent to 47 percent in the race for the suburban Atlanta seat. Four percent were undecided. Handel, who won a highly publicized special election last year against Democrat Jon Ossoff, is seeking her first full term this November. 

"Lucy is turning personal pain into real change for this country, and we are confident that voters will choose Lucy in November," McBath campaign spokesman Jake Orvis said. 

The poll, conducted for the campaign by Thirty-Ninth Street Strategies, surveyed 600 likely voters from Aug. 22-26. It had a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. 

Sixty-seven percent of voters were unable to identify McBath, the survey found. Of those who did, 25 percent viewed her favorably to 8 percent who rated her unfavorably. In contrast, Handel was at 52 percent favorable to 37 percent unfavorable, with 11 percent unable to offer an opinion. 

McBath won her primary runoff in July, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added her to its Red to Blue program for strong recruits the following month. She is on unpaid leave from advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, which spent for her during the primary. McBath’s son was killed in 2012 by a man who was annoyed by loud music playing from the car her son was sitting in.

McBath raised $313,000 through July 4, the end of the the pre-runoff reporting period, finishing with $151,000 in the bank. (Handel ended the second quarter on June 30 with $1 million on hand.) But McBath received support from national groups such as EMILY’s List, and prominent Democratic figures, including Hillary Clinton, civil rights icon and Georgia Rep. John Lewis and California Sen. Kamala Harris

Democrats came close to winning the district for the first time in 40 years in last year’s special election to replace former GOP Rep. Tom Price. Outside groups from across the country poured millions into that race, making it the most expensive in House history, but Handel prevailed in a runoff. 

President Donald Trump carried the 6th District by less than 2 points in 2016. McBath’s poll found him at 46 percent favorable to 53 percent unfavorable. 

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Handel-McBath race Likely Republican.

Handel’s campaign called the poll “an internal PR effort” and said the congresswoman “is confident that her record of results — versus the rhetoric and resistance of the left — will help earn the support and votes of the people of the 6th District.”

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