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Political fight in Georgia suburbs as McBath skips neighborhoods


FILE – United States Representative Lucy McBath, D-Ga., Speaks at a press conference at the Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. offices in downtown Atlanta on May 21, 2021. McBath announced on Monday, November 22, 2021 that she was jumping into another suburban Atlanta neighborhood attracted to Democrats. She tells her followers that her mission is too important for her to step aside. This decision could set up a primary against the American representative Carolyn Bourdeaux, the outgoing Democrat of the new district. (Alyssa Pointer / Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP, FILE)


U.S. Representative from Georgia, Lucy McBath, is not leaving, even as Republicans attempt to draw district boundaries to wrest part of the U.S. suburbs from Congressional Democrats.

McBath, a Democrat who in 2018 wrested Newt Gingrich’s former suburban Atlanta in the United States from the GOP, is a torchbearer for the Democratic insurgency in once-prime Republican territory. The GOP-controlled Georgia General Assembly responded by attracting a much more Republican 6th Congressional District for McBath, a former flight attendant who rose to prominence as a gun control activist after that her son was fatally shot at a Florida gas station during an argument over loud music.

But even as State House pushed through the new plan on a majority partisan vote, McBath announced Monday that she was heading to another suburban Atlanta district, which is heavily Democrat-friendly. She tells her followers that her mission is too important for her to step aside.

“I refuse to withdraw. We have to fight Republicans every step of the way, and now is not the time to lose a missionary mother 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 befell my family from affecting another. “

One complication: Georgia’s 7th Congressional District already has a Democratic incumbent, US Representative 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 with a dominated GOP. by Donald Trump.

The Georgia remap will be finalized once Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signs it. Democrats promise legal action, 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 powerful GOP districts out of Georgia’s 14 seats in the United States, compared to 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 voting along Democratic Party lines?”

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

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

The changes to the old McBath neighborhood and its new neighborhood exemplify the suburban changes that made Democrats competitive. The Republicans removed the 6th District from the strongly Democratic County of DeKalb and strongly Republican territory further north of Atlanta.

In contrast, Republicans are heading to the 7th arrondissement after Bourdeaux narrowly won it in 2020, drawing a very blue neighborhood in the suburbs of Gwinnett and Fulton counties which saw an influx of Latino, Asian and black voters. .

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

“I think the way they’ve set up the 6th arrondissement tells me that they realize that the changes are going to continue,” Bullock said.

Democrats have a less charitable view.

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

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

Neither McBath nor Bourdeaux live in the new 7th Arrondissement, although this is not required for a congressman.

Bourdeaux noted that she had worked to take root in the vast Gwinnett County, which has a population of nearly one million.

“I am Gwinnett’s representative in the race for a predominantly Gwinnett district,” she said in a statement. “The people of 7th deserve a representative who understands and cares about their needs, and who is used to fighting for them in Washington.”

There may be other candidates. State Representative Donna McLeod said on Monday that she also intends to run for the Democratic nomination in the 7th.

One advantage of McBath is its support by Everytown for Gun Safety, affiliated with Michael Bloomberg, a gun control group that McBath previously worked for. Everytown groups spent more than $ 6.3 million to help McBath’s campaigns in 2018 and 2020, according to records.

“I can’t imagine Congress without her,” said Adrienne Penake, 6th District resident and Georgia Election Officer for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group associated with Everytown. “I can’t imagine it without his voice. There. How it goes, I have no idea.


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