Draft Georgia congressional lines target McBath, shore up Bourdeaux
The first draft of a proposal to redraw congressional district boundaries in Georgia shows Republicans are aiming to knock off Rep. Lucy McBath (D) in a high-stakes battle for control of suburban communities surrounding Atlanta.
The maps, released by Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan (R) and state Sen. John Kennedy (R), who chairs the Senate Redistricting Committee, show Republicans plan to move McBath’s district into Forsyth County, a suburban area northeast of Atlanta, and out of DeKalb County, to the south.
DeKalb County gave President Biden 83 percent of the vote in 2020. Forsyth County favored former President Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. Much of McBath’s old stronghold in DeKalb would be drawn into Rep. Hank Johnson’s (D) already heavily Democratic seat.
The move likely shores up at least one freshman member of Congress, Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, one of the only Democrats to win a district last year previously held by a Republican. Bourdeaux lost a 2018 race against then-Rep. Rob Woodall (R) by just 433 votes before storming back to win the open seat in 2020.
Bourdeaux’s 7th Congressional District would be redrawn almost entirely into southern Gwinnett County, which abuts both Forsyth and DeKalb. Biden carried Gwinnett County as a whole by an 18-point margin in 2020.
The proposed maps make only minor changes to Georgia’s other 12 districts and Georgia retains the same number of House seats. Duncan and Kennedy did not release data tables associated with the maps, though it is unlikely that any other of Georgia’s seats would change substantially based on their geographic outlines.
“It is clear that this map not only meets principles of redistricting, but we are proud to present a map that regardless of political party, Georgians can be proud of,” Duncan said in a statement. “Ensuring that any maps we produce are fair, compact and keep communities of interest together, will continue to be of upmost [sic] importance.”
The maps are by no means finalized: Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has called legislators back to Atlanta to consider redistricting changes in a special session that begins Nov. 3.
The Georgia Democratic Party declined to comment on the proposed maps.
Georgia grew rapidly over the last decade, according to data released last month by the U.S. Census Bureau, with most of that growth in and around Atlanta. At the beginning of the last decade, Republicans held nine of the state’s 14 districts, a figure that grew to 10 when Rep. John Barrow (D) retired in 2014.
But the growing Atlanta area has turned more blue in recent years: McBath beat then-Rep. Karen Handel (R) in 2018, and Bourdeaux won her seat two years later.
In 2020, Biden became the first Democrat to carry Georgia’s 16 electoral votes since former President Clinton in 1992. Biden beat Trump there by just under 12,000 votes.
Two months later, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock delivered stunning upsets against then-Sens. David Perdue (R) and Kelly Loeffler (R) in runoff elections, becoming the first Democrats to win Senate seats in Georgia since Max Cleland won a single term in 1996.
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