Georgia Sixth Congressional Candidates

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath (left), D-Ga., is being challenged by former Republican U.S. Rep. Karen Handel in the election for Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

(The Center Square) – Georgia incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath is facing a rematch against Republican Karen Handel in the election for Georgia's 6th Congressional District.

McBath was elected to the U.S. House in 2018. Before running for office, McBath was a flight attendant. She became a public figure after the death of her son, Jordan Davis, who was murdered in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2012 after an argument over loud music.

McBath ran her campaign on gun-law reform and defeated Handel in the November 2018 election. She was the first Democrat to hold the seat for the district consisting of Atlanta's northern suburbs since it was redrawn in 1993.

Handel, a businesswoman, represented the 6th Congressional District from 2017 to 2019. She also served as Georgia's secretary of state and was the deputy chief of staff for former Gov. Sonny Perdue.

In 2003, Handel became the first woman to serve as chairperson of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Handel also was a gubernatorial candidate in 2010, losing to former Gov. Nathan Deal in the primary.

While in Congress, Handel helped passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Handel said it brought economic development to distressed communities.

"We had an economy that was working for everyone; 2.5 million Americans lifted up and out of poverty, historic job growth, wages increased and record numbers of new businesses created for every demographic – particularly among African Americans and women," Handel said in response to an election questionnaire sent by The Center Square to both candidates. "The tax cuts allowed most Americans to keep more of their hard-earned paycheck."

McBath did not respond to The Center Square's questionnaire, but on her campaign website, said she favors expanding middle-class and small-business tax cuts.

"I oppose giving massive tax giveaways to multinational corporations," McBath said. "Instead, I have advocated for our tax code to favor our families. I support making middle-class tax cuts permanent and increasing the minimum wage."

If elected, Handel said she would work to keep taxes low, push more "pro-growth" policies and support small businesses. McBath also has voted to help small businesses and has secured infrastructure funding for the state, according to her congressional website.

Handel served on a debt reduction task force while in the House, where she supported a 10-year path to a balanced budget. The pandemic has created an economic crisis that must be tackled, however, before there is a fix, she said.

"If there was ever a time for the federal government to step up, it is now," Handel said. "We must defeat the virus and rebuild our economy. Once that has been accomplished, we must turn our attention to the debt."

Both candidates are at opposite ends of the health care debate. McBath wants to restore funding cuts to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

"As a two-time breast cancer survivor and daughter of two medical professionals, I understand the importance of quality, affordable health care," McBath said on her campaign website. "No family in our district should have to worry about choosing between paying their bills and paying for health care."

Handel plans to advocate for more private insurance options, pre-tax dollars for premium costs and decoupling insurance from employers so that workers can take their insurance with them. Still, she is not totally against public funding for health care.

"I understand that the national network of Community Health Centers is a critical access point for health care for our vulnerable population, and I will continue to fight for funding of these centers and support Medicaid block grants that will give the state of Georgia flexibility to meet our specific needs," Handel said.

If re-elected, McBath said on her campaign website she would push for more investment in clean sources of fuel and subsidies for homeowners who wish to utilize solar and other energy forms.

"I agree with the Department of Defense: climate change is one of the most urgent national security issues of our time," McBath said.

Handel agrees that protecting environment for future generations is important. She wants to reduce regulations for renewable energy technologies and new nuclear power plants, explore tax credits for clean energy innovations and encourage carbon capture and storage.

"Radical proposals like the Green New Deal will exacerbate our already severe economic challenges with massive new taxes, more regulations and trillions more in spending – with goals that are completely unrealistic," she said.

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for five years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.