A Democratic primary in Georgia has taken a contentious turn after one of the candidates argued he represents the district's “demography.”
Answering a question about whether he believes there should be more women in Congress at a debate Thursday night at the Atlanta Press Club, Kevin Abel said, "I believe that Congress should absolutely reflect the demography of the United States. And in that context, absolutely there should be far more women representing the citizens of the United States in districts all around the country."
“I believe that in this particular 6th District,” he continued, “I am the right candidate to not only defeat Karen Handel in the fall but to represent the demography and makeup of this district and to represent our country by representing this district.”
That comment has irked backers of his opponent: Lucy McBath, a black woman known for her gun control activism.
Asked what it was about Abel, who is white, and the demographics of the district that make him a better choice, a spokesperson for his campaign, said, “You need a Democrat who can win some of those independent-minded voters. With his business experience and deep community ties, Kevin is the candidate who can win those votes needed to beat Karen Handel.”
The 6th District — which is composed of Republican-leaning areas of the Atlanta suburbs and rose to fame last year with one of the most expensive congressional elections of all time, when Rep. Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossoff — is about 60% white, 15% black, 12% Latino, and 10% Asian. The winner of the July 24 runoff will face Handel in November.
McBath is one of a slate of candidates of color around the country seeking to represent majority white districts. A former flight attendant, McBath is the mother of Jordan Davis, who was gunned down in 2012 by a man who said the car Davis was in was playing music too loud. His assailant was sentenced to life without a chance for parole.
Responding to an email from BuzzFeed News, McBath said, “I believe my life experience raising my son in the district as a working mom and as an advocate for common sense gun safety after his murder makes me someone who will successfully represent everyone in the 6th district. I hope that for the remainder of this runoff campaign, Mr. Abel and I will discuss our views on the issues facing our nation and how to stop the Trump agenda, and not on personal attacks.”