Former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, came in first in the straw poll taken at the Cobb GOP’s annual Independence Day fete on Thursday.

The vote for Georgia's 6th Congressional District broke down this way:

*Karen Handel: 111 votes

*Marjorie Taylor Greene: 49

*Nicole Rodden: 29

*Brandon Beach: 24

*Kenneth Brown: 18

“Karen has very strong name ID,” Cobb GOP Chairman Jason Shepherd said of her win. “She has very strong history in the county, in politics in general. People know who she is. People feel comfortable with her. She’s been on the ballot either in Fulton County, statewide or in Cobb County now for more than a decade, so folks know who she is. They know what she stands for. They probably need a little bit more time to test the waters with the other candidates. I think it’s her race to lose. She is the immediate past congresswoman.”

In her stump speech before the audience, Handel took aim at the woman who ousted her: U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta. McBath barely beat Handel in the November 2018 election with 50.5 percent of the vote or 3,264 votes.

“Now, Lucy McBath, she’s already out there sounding the alarm,” Handel told the crowd. “She’s telling all her supporters Karen Handel is — quote — coming for her. Well, you’re darn right I’m coming for Lucy McBath. This woman couldn’t even get her office up and running. Took her almost six months. She blamed me for her incompetence. She says that it was a mistake when she said she wanted a gun-free society and now that she’s finally filed her financial work, get this, she’s a millionaire. So what I want to know is, did she become a millionaire in her first six months of Congress or did she lie to us about who she really is? She didn’t tell us the truth about who she is. We know she lives in Tennessee because she cheated Cobb County on her Homestead Exemption and they now revoked it. She cheated the state of Georgia on her car tag taxes. And if all of her dishonesty wasn’t bad enough, Lucy McBath stands steadfastly with Omar, AOC and Pelosi, and not with you.”

Handel warned that retaking the seat would be a challenge.

“Now, the outside groups came in and they are going to be back in 2020, so retaking this seat is not going to be easy. That’s why we have to put forward our strongest, most experienced candidate. Someone who has proven that she can win. Now I know some of you are asking what about ’18? Well, most of you know I love football. What you might not know is I love boxing, too. And what I know about the greatest fighters out there is sometimes you have to take a punch to land the knockout blow. And in 2020, we’re going to deliver the knockout blow to Nancy Pelosi, we're going to get Donald Trump reelected, we’re going to reelect David Perdue, we're going to take back the 6th."

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