In early August, I wrote a post asking if Lucy McBath, the Democratic nominee for Georgia’s sixth House District, was the new religious star of the Democratic Party.
She had a compelling life story about losing her 17-year-old son, Jordan, to gun violence in 2012 and she used her grief to become a national spokeswoman for gun control. Then she decided to run for office against a heavily favored Republican incumbent, Rep. Karen Handel.
So I wrote about how McBath’s deeply Christian faith has been a guiding factor in her decision to run and how every media outlet except Mother Jones ignored that factor. When I went to bed Tuesday night, it appeared that McBath had lost.
When I woke up Wednesday, McBath had pulled ahead, finally winning in an election that took a day and one-half to decide. Handel finally conceded last Thursday morning after McBath bested her by less than 3,000 votes. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said:
The 6th District race was Georgia’s most high-profile upset in a year that drew near presidential-level turnout. Until a few weeks ago — and even leading into election night — many political handicappers did not list Handel among the lawmakers most in danger of losing their seats.
But sky-high turnout sparked by the state’s marquee gubernatorial race, simmering suburban dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump and major outside assistance from groups linked to mega-donor Michael Bloomberg all helped McBath eke out a win over Handel, allies of the Democrat said in interviews this week.
But the McBath campaign and its allies also attribute the Democrat’s win to the candidate’s powerful personal story, which they say helped her cut through the political noise and connect with voters.
Her powerful story? That sounds like a potential opening to the faith factor in this story — if a journalist was willing to dig into that.
However, it is clear that gun control was the winning factor in this campaign.
By far the biggest outside player in the contest was the Bloomberg-affiliated Everytown for Gun Safety, the gun control group for which McBath once worked. The organization plowed more than $4.5 million into the race, mostly financing television ads that helped build up McBath’s name identification ahead of the primary and general elections while also attacking Handel.
But neither a New York Times story nor a Huffington Post story gave any credit to McBath’s faith as a factor. McBath is now a black woman representing a mostly white district. Is it possible some of those white Christian voters –- while disagreeing with McBath on abortion -– saw her fellow pilgrim and voted for her anyway?
By the way, McBath was the faith and outreach leader for Everytown.
The most recent story on the Congresswoman-elect is this MSNBC video that talks about McBath for about nine minutes but doesn’t mention anything about faith.
Georgia is deep in the Bible Belt. Being a person of faith is a huge factor in winning elections there, especially when you need independents and some crossover votes to win.
I’m wondering if no one mentions McBath’s beliefs because she’s a Democrat and a lot of journalists aren’t used to talking about Democrats and God in the same sentence.
I still don’t know the details of the woman’s faith, i.e. which church she attends; how her beliefs may have helped her through her grief and whether she credits God for her victory.
There’s a story to be done here, people. I’m praying a scribe somehow, somewhere will be up to the task.