Democrats Kevin Abel and Lucy McBath appeared headed to a runoff late on Election Night for the right to challenge Republican incumbent Karen Handel for the 6th Congressional District seat.

Lucy McBath

McBath was leading with about 36 percent of the votes and Abel following with about 30.5 percent. Appearing to finish out of the running were Bobby Kaple and Steven Knight Griffin.

Both candidates cite personal reasons for running. McBath, a Cobb County resident, is a gun control advocate whose son, Jordan Davis, was murdered in a notorious 2012 Florida shooting. Abel, a Sandy Springs resident, is a South African immigrant who discusses the fate of the American Dream.

Kevin Abel

Handel faced no primary challenger. In an Election Night statement, she got an early start at campaigning against the Democrats.

“While the Democrats will continue to pump outside money into our community leading into their July runoff,” Handel said in the written statement, “I will remain committed to lowering the taxes on hardworking families and small business, cutting over-burdensome regulations, strengthening our military, standing with Israel, honoring our commitment to our veterans and combating the opioid crisis. This is my focus in Washington and the district — every day.”

In a written statement the next day, Abel said his support was mostly local.

“Our campaign was fueled by an incredible base of community support, an amazing group of committed, hard-working volunteers and over a thousand individual contributors, almost 90 percent of whom live in the metro Atlanta area,” Abel said. “This race is going to be decided by the voters of the 6th District, not hundreds of thousands of dollars of outside money.”

The 6th Congressional District includes parts of Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs as well as sections of north Fulton and Cobb counties.

Update: This story has been updated with comment from Kevin Abel.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.