Handel to make Georgia history as its first GOP congresswoman
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — Republican Karen Handel, who won a special congressional election in Georgia on Tuesday to replace the vacated seat of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, will make history as the state’s first GOP congresswoman.
Acknowledging the historic moment while giving her victory speech in Georgia on Tuesday, she said: “Tonight reminds me, anything is possible.”
In her speech, Handel discussed what she felt she owed the voters, including “the obligation of being the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the great state of Georgia.”
Handel will be the only woman in the current 16-member Georgia congressional delegation, and the seventh woman ever sent to Congress from the state.
The last woman elected to the Senate or House of Representatives from Georgia was Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who served from 2005-2007.
While women account for just over half of the American population, they make up less one-fifth of Congress, according to the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.
With the addition of Handel, there will be 105 women representatives in Congress, accounting for 19.6 percent of overall members, according to the center’s data. Of those 105, 21 women are senators and 84 including Handel are representatives.
The organization congratulated Handel via Twitter after the win, but noted that there was still “more work to do.”
Despite the large imbalance between men and women, Congress has the highest number of women representatives in history.
The Democratic Party retains a comparative edge in the number of its members who are women, with 78 in Congress. Conversely, there will now be 27 Republican women in Congress.
Two states, Mississippi and Vermont, have never sent a woman to Congress, according to CAWP’s numbers.
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