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Georgia Democrat Lucy McBath beats GOP Rep. Karen Handel following tight race

(CNN) Georgia Democrat challenger Lucy McBath has defeated Republican Rep. Karen Handel to be elected to Congress, CNN projects.

Handel conceded the race for Georgia's 6th Congressional District early Thursday morning in a statement posted to Facebook.

"After carefully reviewing all of the election results data, it is clear that I came up a bit short on Tuesday," Handel said in the statement. "Congratulations to Representative-Elect Lucy McBath and I send her only good thoughts and much prayer for the journey that lies ahead for her."

McBath is a gun control activist whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in 2012 after a dispute over loud music. She told CNN before winning the Democratic primary that the activism of the students who survived the shooting in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year inspired her to run for Congress.

"I'm still a mother. I'm still parenting. That's why I believed this was the time to stand up," McBath said.

McBath, a former flight attendant, learned of her son's death the day after Thanksgiving in 2012 and diligently followed the trial of the shooter, Michael Dunn. She studied gun control, told her story within her community and on TV and lobbied lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Two trials later, and two years after Jordan's death, Dunn was convicted of first-degree murder. But McBath wasn't finished with the movement and stayed involved, with the Parkland massacre motivating her to run for office.

"For me, I was looking beyond my own tragedy, looking for the other tragedies that were most definitely going to happen if I didn't keep talking about this crisis," she told CNN.

The tight race comes following a dramatic special election in the district last year. Handel defeated Democratic newcomer Jon Ossoff in what was at the time the most expensive House race in history.