Georgia 6th: Karen Handel to be sworn in on Monday

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Karen Handel and her husband Steve take the podium for her victory speech at her election night party on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

WASHINGTON — Republican Karen Handel will officially become Georgia’s 6th District congresswoman on Monday evening, filling a seat that’s been vacant for more than four months after a hard-fought victory over an upstart Democratic opponent earlier this week.

Speaker Paul Ryan’s office confirmed that Handel will be sworn in as the House’s newest member during the chamber’s evening votes, which typically occur at 6:30 p.m.

The ceremony is one that’s thick with tradition. As lawmakers assemble to vote, the speaker will call the representative-elect to the well of the House for the oath of office. The new representative is then given an introduction by a party leader or a member of the state delegation before embarking on a short inaugural speech of her own as loved ones watch from an upstairs viewing gallery.

AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Other typical first-day festivities include a mock swearing-in ceremony with Ryan that also functions as a photo-op and a small reception with family and supporters. Check out Georgia U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk (right) during his swearing-in reenactment with then-Speaker John Boehner in 2015.

We’re told Ryan’s office is looking to swear Handel in at the same time as Ralph Norman, the Republican who won South Carolina’s special election on Tuesday night.

Handel’s swearing in comes less than a week after her wider-than-expected victory over Democrat Jon Ossoff in a nationally-watched special election that was viewed as a referendum on President Donald Trump.

Handel will become Georgia’s first-ever GOP congresswoman. She’s also expected to become one of the most closely-watched junior lawmakers in Washington given the symbolism of her win.

Watch the swearing-in process unfold below featuring Montana Republican Greg Gianforte, who was sworn in last week:

Read more 6th District coverage:

A peek at the road ahead for Karen Handel in Congress

Pressure on Pelosi mounts after Ossoff’s 6th District defeat

Handel stitched pro- and anti-Trump Republicans together, and Ossoff let her

Karen Handel on why she won Georgia’s 6th District


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