Handel edged out her Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff
Five women have served in Congress representing Georgia as Democrats since 1940
With Republican Karen Handel’s win comes a historic moment for the Georgia delegation: the state’s first Republican woman representative to be elected to Congress.
“I am also very well aware of another obligation that comes with tonight’s decision by the voters, the obligation of being the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the great state of Georgia,” Handel said in her victory speech Tuesday night.
To note the significance, Handel also shared a story from the campaign trail of meeting a young girl who the Congresswoman-elect said had been following the race.
“‘Karen, if you can win, it says to every 8-year-old girl that she can do it too,’” Handel recalled the girl telling her.
Six women have served in Congress representing Georgia as Democrats since 1940, including Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who served several terms in Congress, most recently from 2005-2007, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics. Rebecca Latimer Felton, also a Democrat, served in the Senate for one day in 1922.
According to the Center for American Progress, as of January 2017, women comprised 19.4% of the incoming members of the House.
Handel edged out her Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, in a much anticipated run-off election to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
The race for the 6th – a district made up of northern Atlanta suburbs – turned into the most expensive House race in history, with more than $50 million spent by both parties and super PACs.
High-profile endorsements for the candidates were also abundant: President Donald Trump voiced his support for Handel.
The latest results had Handel winning by a 3.8% margin, 51.9% to Ossoff’s 48.1%.
CNN’s Eric Bradner and Liz Stark contributed to this report.