Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis and a Democrat running for Congress in Georgia, said her son’s murder was the “catalyst” that motivated her to run for office.
“It’s a phone call that no parent ever wants to get,” McBath said about the death of her son on Profile, BuzzFeed News' interview show on Facebook Watch. “And every fear that I had about protecting Jordan as a young, black male, it all converged on me in that one moment.”
Davis’s death became a flashpoint in the early stages of the Black Lives Matter movement, after he was murdered for playing his music too loudly outside a gas station in Florida by a disgruntled white man in 2012.
McBath, whose father was the president of the Illinois NAACP chapter, said that she was raised in a home fully enmeshed in the civil rights movement. She told Profile guest host Hayes Brown that growing up around marches and rallies laid the foundation for her entry into politics, preparing her to become a community activist and leader in a political movement.
“Everything I was teaching him to be, and I thought and assumed that I was grooming him for, I’ve ended up assuming that role,” McBath said. “I can’t be a hypocrite, so I very much have to walk out what I was trying to teach him.”
McBath is now running for a House seat in a congressional district that in 2017 became a bellwether for a potential blue wave, when Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel faced off in a special election to replace Tom Price, who had taken a cabinet position in the Trump administration. Millions of dollars poured into the race, and Ossoff lost narrowly to Handel in a district that was traditionally favorable for Republicans.
“We owe a lot to Jon Ossoff for what he’s done for our party and really helping create this blue wave in Georgia’s 6th,” McBath said.
Handel was able to beat Ossoff in part by trying to make the race a referendum not on President Donald Trump, but on House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. McBath demurred when asked whether she would support Pelosi as party leader if she is elected to Congress.
“There are a lot of Democrats that I’m supporting because they’re doing so many great things in Washington on behalf of the country. But I’m not going to spend any time deliberating over any candidates that we don’t even know are going to happen yet,” McBath said. “I’ll support any Democratic candidates as long as they’re doing good work for the Democratic Party in Georgia, but we don’t know who’s going to run or if there’s going to be an election.”
Democrats running for House seats in some conservative-leaning districts have campaigned explicitly on not supporting Pelosi — an avatar for attacks on the Democratic Party by Republicans — for party leader if they’re elected.