Georgia congresswoman McBath says she won't run for Senate

FILE - In this Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 file photo, Rep. Lucy McBath D-Ga., speaks during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democratic congresswoman Lucy McBath says she won't run in either of Georgia's two U.S. Senate contests. McBath, who was being recruited by state and national party leaders, said Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 that she would instead focus on winning a second House term.

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic congresswoman Lucy McBath said Thursday that she won't be a candidate in either of Georgia's U.S. Senate contests.

McBath said she would instead focus on winning a second House term in 2020.

The gun control advocate, who last year upset incumbent Republican Karen Handel to win her hotly contested suburban Atlanta House seat, was being recruited by state and national party leaders to run for Senate.

With two Senate seats up for grabs in 2020 after Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson announced his retirement, Democrats believe that Georgia may be their best chance of breaking the GOP's hold on the Deep South. Republican Sen. David Perdue is also on the ballot in November 2020, seeking reelection.

While four Democrats have already announced runs against Perdue, the field for the open Isakson seat has so far been a blank canvas.

State Democrats last week held a number of meetings with national party leaders to vet potential candidates. And McBath was a top prospect.

McBath said in a statement that she had considered how she could best advance causes such as gun safety and protecting veterans in need, and decided that meant staying put in the House.

"I am just starting my work in the House on these issues, and I believe the best way to advance them at this time is to focus fully on those efforts in the House," she said.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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