The map redraws the Democratic-leaning district owned by McBath, making it more Republican by stretching north of the metro Atlanta area to the conservative strongholds of Forsyth and Dawson counties. McBath was re-elected last year with 55 percent of the vote, but according to the new card Republican voters outnumber Democrats by 15 percentage points in next year’s election, according to the analysis of the AJC.
McBath overthrew the 6th Congressional District in 2018, winning elections in an area that was once a Republican stronghold represented by Newt Gingrich, who became speaker of the United States House of Representatives and led the GOP to take control of the House in 1994. Now the district is on the verge of returning to Republican representation.
Democratic lawmakers accused Republicans of manipulating constituencies to gain power, saying the map should more closely reflect the Georgian electorate at 50-50, with an opportunity for each party to win seven seats. But because Republicans control the General Assembly, they had the votes to create the map that gives them 64% of the state’s representation in the US House of Representatives.
State Deputy Mariam Paris, a Democrat from Macon, said the card tried to topple McBath, one of two black women on Georgia’s congressional delegation with U.S. Representative Nikema Williams.
“In an age where women are already under-represented, especially women of color, we shouldn’t be drawing maps that target outgoing women to make it harder for them to show up and win in new neighborhoods,” he said. declared Paris during the debate in the House. “But the map in front of us today does just that.”
Republican leaders pushed the card through the legislative process in just six days. It was released to the public on Wednesday, leaving limited time for consideration of a bill that was passed without any amendment.
“I heard members standing here say that we were targeting a woman of color. … it does not work like that, Speaker of the House Decoupage Bonnie Rich noted. “This congressional card is fair, it complies with the law, the Constitution and the voting rights law, regardless of what activists and statewide candidates say. “
Redistribution takes place once a decade to ensure an equal population.
Georgia’s population has grown by one million over the past decade, bringing its total population to 10.7 million, according to the 2020 census. All of the population growth has been among people of color, and the number of white residents has declined.
This year’s redistribution, with approximately 765,136 residents in each of Georgia’s 14 districts, is the first since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling ended federal oversight. Prior to Shelby v. Holder of 2013, states with a history of racial discrimination, including Georgia, were required to obtain federal preclearance before new districts could come into effect.
But states can still be sued over whether the redistribution discriminates against voters of color in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Republican lawmakers who support Georgia’s new congressional map have said it is fair and non-discriminatory.
“I guess there will be lawsuits galore, quickly, and that’s fine. There was the last time, and they were all fired, ”said Speaker of the House David Ralston, a Republican from Blue Ridge. “The Supreme Court of the United States has said that redistribution is inherently a political process. And I say that without lowering my head or stammering. I mean, you can’t take it off.
In addition to changing the electorate in the district represented by McBath, the card also makes another congressional district uncompetitive.
United States Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux transferred a Gwinnett County-based district to Democrats with her 51% win last year. The redesigned 7th District would lean 22 percentage points towards Democrats, according to AJC estimates based on voting patterns in the 2020 and 2018 elections.
Immediately after the House voted to approve the new card on Monday, McBath announced that she would run in the 7th arrondissement now owned by Bourdeaux.
“This card puts power over principles, partisanship over people,” said Minority Leader James Beverly, a Democrat from Macon. “It’s the Republican road or the highway.”
Some Cobb County voters could also win a new representative after next year’s election – Republican United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene. The northwest Georgia district that Greene represents would be remodeled to become a part of Democratic-leaning Cobb, in the Austell and Powder Springs areas. The district as a whole, however, would remain predominantly Republican.
Two Republican lawmakers broke with their party and voted against the card: state Representative Philip Singleton, a Republican from Sharpsburg who opposed changes that made parts of his Coweta County district more democratic, and the state Representative Timothy Barr de Lawrenceville, candidate for Congress.