State Watch

Georgia Republicans advance map that aims to pick up House seat in redistricting

Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) leaves a House Democratic Caucus meeting on Tuesday, August 24, 2021 where they mostly discussed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
Greg Nash

The Georgia state Senate on Friday approved a plan to redraw political boundaries that would likely cost a Democratic member of Congress her seat, the latest Republican-led effort to bolster the party’s chances of reclaiming control of the U.S. House in next year’s midterm elections. 

The plan, approved on a party-line vote, would dramatically reshape three districts in Atlanta’s eastern and northeastern suburbs — all of which are currently held by Democrats.

The victim is likely to be Rep. Lucy McBath (D), who first won election in 2018 in a district that currently includes parts of Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb and Forsyth counties. Under the new plan, McBath’s seat would move north, surrendering voters in suburban Atlanta for new voters in Cherokee and Dawson counties.

Forsyth County gave former President Trump 66 percent of the vote last year, and Dawson County, which would move from Rep. Andrew Clyde’s (R) neighboring district, favored Trump by nearly 70 percentage points.

Republicans have long telegraphed that they were eyeing McBath’s district as a key takeover opportunity. To accomplish their goal, they moved a little under half of McBath’s constituents into another district. 

“Georgia Republicans’ latest congressional gerrymander turns a competitive suburban district into a safe Republican one in a transparent ploy to remove a Black woman and a fighter for all of the 6th Congressional District — regardless of race or party — from Congress simply because Republicans know they can no longer compete in Atlanta’s suburbs,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, a top adviser to Fair Fight PAC, the group affiliated with former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams (D).

Democrats are almost certain to sue over the new district lines if the state House follows the Senate’s lead and approves the maps. 

The new Georgia lines make few other significant changes to current boundaries. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s (R) district would pick up new voters in suburban Cobb County, while Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R) inherits some of Greene’s voters in Pickens County, two moves unlikely to alter reliably Republican districts. 

Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) is likely to have picked up a few new Republican-leaning voters; the legislature’s map flips Crisp County, which backed Trump with 62 percent of the vote, to Rep. Austin Scott’s (R) district in exchange for Thomas County, which is slightly larger and gave Trump a slightly lower vote share, 59 percent.

Bishop won reelection in 2020 in his largely rural, heavily Black district at the same time Biden carried 56 percent of the vote there. 

McBath would join a handful of other Democrats in Congress targeted by Republican mapmakers for political extinction. In North Carolina, Republican-drawn maps eliminated a district held by Rep. Kathy Manning (D), and substantially redrew a seat held by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D), who subsequently announced he would retire from Congress.

Democrats in some states have targeted Republican members for elimination, too. In Illinois, Democrats drew Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R), one of the few Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, and Darin LaHood (R) into the same district; Kinzinger said he would not seek another term. And Democrats in Maryland are considering a plan that would make Rep. Andy Harris (R) vulnerable to a challenge.

Tags Adam Kinzinger Andy Harris Austin Scott Barry Loudermilk Darin LaHood Donald Trump G.K. Butterfield Georgia Hank Johnson Joe Biden Lucy McBath Marjorie Taylor Greene Redistricting

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