Political fight in Georgia suburbs as McBath jumps districts

Nov 22, 2021, 10:56 PM | Updated: Nov 23, 2021, 1:41 pm
FILE - U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux speaks during a news conference in downtown Atlanta on May 21, 2...

FILE - U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux speaks during a news conference in downtown Atlanta on May 21, 2021. U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., announced Monday, Nov. 22, 2021, that she was jumping to a different suburban Atlanta district drawn to favor Democrats. She’s telling supporters that her mission is too important to step aside. The move could set up a primary against U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, the incumbent Democrat in the new district. (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

(Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath isn’t going away, even as Republicans try to draw district lines to pry back a slice of the American suburbs from congressional Democrats.

McBath, a Democrat who in 2018 wrested away Newt Gingrich’s old suburban Atlanta U.S. House district from the GOP, is a torchbearer for the Democratic insurgency into once-prime Republican territory. Georgia’s GOP-controlled General Assembly responded by drawing a much more Republican 6th Congressional District for McBath, a former flight attendant who rose to prominence as a gun control activist after her son was fatally shot at a Florida gas station in a dispute over loud music.

But even as the state House pushed through the new plan on a mostly party-line vote, McBath announced Monday that she was jumping to a different suburban Atlanta district, this one drawn to heavily favor Democrats. She’s telling supporters that her mission is too important to step aside.

“I refuse to stand down. We must fight Republicans every step of the way, and now is not the time to lose a mother on a mission in Congress,” McBath said in a statement. “I made a promise to Jordan after he died. I promised that I would do everything in my power to prevent the tragedy that happened to my family from reaching any other.”

One complication: Georgia’s 7th Congressional District already has a Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux. She narrowly won the district in 2020, another example of a Democrat ending years of Republican control amid a diversifying population and suburban disaffection from a GOP dominated by Donald Trump.

Georgia’s remap will be finalized once Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signs it. Democrats promise lawsuits, saying the lines violate federal law by discriminating against minority voters.

The net result is what Republicans are looking for — Democrats minus one, drawing nine strong GOP districts among Georgia’s 14 U.S. House seats, up from the current eight seats Republicans hold.

“What does Lucy McBath really have to offer?” 6th District Republican Party Chairman Nathan Porter asked. “What has she done for the district other than vote along Democratic Party lines?”

But for Jen Cox, who fought for years to elect a Democrat in suburban Atlanta, watching McBath being pushed out the district is a “frustrating place to be.”

“She has such a compelling story and she has devoted her life to honoring the memory of her son who was killed,” said Cox, one of the co-founders of PaveItBlue, a Georgia group devoted to organizing women to elect Democrats.

The changes to McBath’s old district and her new one illustrate suburban shifts that have made Democrats competitive. Republicans drew the 6th District out of heavily Democratic DeKalb County and into strongly Republican territory farther north from Atlanta.

In contrast, Republicans are surrendering in the 7th District after Bourdeaux narrowly won it in 2020, drawing a securely blue district in suburban areas of Gwinnett and Fulton counties that have seen an influx of Latino, Asian and Black voters.

University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock, who has written a book on redistricting, said Republicans retreated to a “defensible position” amid unfavorable demographic and political changes.

“I think the way they configured the 6th District, that tells me they realize the changes are going to continue,” Bullock said.

Democrats have a less charitable view.

“It’s gerrymandering the suburbs,” said Essence Johnson, a McBath supporter and former Democratic state legislative candidate who lives in Smyrna.

“They’re scared,” Johnson said of Republicans. “She’s won the seat twice. I think there’s a level of fear in the shift and the change. They’re fearful of losing that power.”

Neither McBath nor Bourdeaux lives in the new 7th District, although that’s not required for a member of Congress.

Bourdeaux noted that she has worked to root herself in sprawling Gwinnett County, which has nearly 1 million people.

“I am the Gwinnett representative in the race for a predominantly Gwinnett district,” she said in a statement. “The people of the 7th deserve a representative that understands and cares about their needs, and has a record of fighting for them in Washington”.

There may be other candidates. State Rep. Donna McLeod said Monday that she also intends to seek the Democratic nomination in the 7th.

One McBath advantage is her backing by Michael Bloomberg-affiliated Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control group for which McBath once worked. Everytown groups spent more than $6.3 million to aid McBath’s campaigns in 2018 and 2020, records show.

“I can’t imagine Congress without her,” said Adrienne Penake, a 6th District resident and Georgia elections lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, an Everytown-associated group. “I can’t imagine it without her voice being there. How that plays out, I have no idea.”

Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Among the least graphic signage used by anti-abortion activists are these two that face the parking...
Associated Press

At historic abortion arguments, conservatives signal changes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority are suggesting they may make sweeping changes to limit abortion rights in the United States. The high court is hearing arguments Wednesday in which the justices are being asked to overrule the court’s historic 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and its 1992 ruling […]
11 hours ago
Associated Press

WHO nations launch steps toward deal to fight pandemics

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization hailing a key step by its member states on Wednesday to launch work toward an international agreement to help prevent, prepare for and respond to future pandemics in the wake of COVID-19. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the consensus decision during a special session […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

‘Our miracle’: Girl goes home after surviving plane crash

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — An 11-year-old girl who survived a Michigan plane crash that killed her father and three other people was released Wednesday from a rehabilitation hospital. “She’s Laney, she’s great and she’s our miracle,” said Christie Perdue of Gaylord, referring to daughter Laney Perdue. Laney was one of five people in a […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Discount airlines Allegiant and Viva Aerobus seek alliance

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Budget airlines Allegiant and Viva Aerobus said Wednesday they will seek antitrust immunity from the U.S. and Mexican governments to form an alliance that will include working together on setting schedules and routes across the border. Las Vegas-based Allegiant said it will invest $50 million in the Mexican carrier as part […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ugandan soldiers enter Congo to fight extremist ADF rebels

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Uganda deployed foot soldiers inside Congolese territory, intensifying a military assault against rebels accused of attacking civilians in Congo and Uganda, according to a Ugandan military official. An unknown number of Ugandan infantry troops crossed the border into eastern Congo Wednesday, the day after Uganda launched artillery and airstrikes on bases […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Daystar CEO Marcus Lamb dies after COVID diagnosis

DALLAS (AP) — Marcus Lamb, CEO and founder of the conservative Christian Daystar Television Network who was outspoken against COVID-19 vaccines, has died at age 64 after contracting the virus. Daystar confirmed his death Tuesday. “It’s with a heavy heart we announce that Marcus Lamb, president and founder of Daystar Television Network, went home to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Political fight in Georgia suburbs as McBath jumps districts