Kay Kirkpatrick participates in a debate for the open state Senate seat that was held by Judson Hill at the East Cobb Library on Wednesday, April 12, 2017, in Marietta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Kay Kirkpatrick, Georgia’s newest state senator, takes her seat

Georgia state Sen. Kay Kirkpatrick, R-Marietta, has officially been sworn into office after a spirited battle that lasted through a runoff election last month.

Kirkpatrick’s win in a May 16 runoff election against Democrat Christine Triebsch buoyed Republican hopes ahead of this month’s nationally watched contest between Republican Karen Handel and Democrat Jon Ossoff.

That’s because Kirkpatrick’s new Senate District 32 shares many of the same neighborhoods as Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in the suburbs just north of Atlanta.

While the Senate seat has been held by a Republican since 1995, the race had appeared surprisingly competitive after Triebsch topped an eight-candidate field in an April 18 special election. In the end, however, Kirkpatrick garnered about 57 percent of the vote. Triebsch took about 43 percent.

Kirkpatrick began her first term with a swearing-in ceremony Friday at the state Capitol.

Longtime state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, who had held the seat since 2005, resigned earlier this year to run for Congress. He came in fourth in the 6th District special election vote on April 18, missing the June 20 runoff.

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