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McBath switches to Bourdeaux challenge after lawmakers approve new GOP-compatible card

Gov. Brian Kemp has yet to sign the maps that will rule Georgia’s political future over the next decade, but 2022 is already heating up as Democratic MK Lucy McBath announced she will take her 2022 campaign on the road and would run again not in his current constituency, now attracted by a Republican next year, but in the neighboring constituency now represented by fellow Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux.

McBath announced his intentions just as Georgia House adopted the new district map in a party line vote Monday before noon, the final act of the special session that began on November 2.

“I refuse to step down,” McBath said in a statement. “We have to fight Republicans every step of the way, and now is not the time to lose a mother on assignment in Congress.”

McBath became a gun safety advocate after her son Jordan Davis was murdered in 2012 after an argument over the volume of music at a gas station in Florida. She was elected to the suburban Atlanta district in 2018 after campaigning extensively on gun laws.

“I made a promise to Jordan after he died,” McBath’s statement continued. “I promised that I would do everything in my power to prevent the tragedy that befell my family from affecting another. Today, I intend to keep that promise. I announce my candidacy for the new Democratic District of Georgia. I need you to be with me because I can’t do it alone.

Congresswoman Lucy McBath has advocated for gun reform after losing her son Jordan Davis in a shootout. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images (photo 2019)

“Simply put, I will not let Brian Kemp, the NRA and the Republican Party decide when my work in Congress on behalf of my son is finished,” she added. “Black women are often expected to pull out and pull out, and those are two things I just refuse to do.”

Bourdeaux has indicated that she has no plans to step down either, arguing that her ties to the district make her the best candidate for the job.

“Georgia’s 7th Congressional District is the Gwinnett County District and my home,” she said in a statement Monday. “I have held five elections here and have close ties to the various communities in our district. Local leaders have my cell phone number, and I’ve worked with them to expand Medicaid, lower health care costs, create universal pre-K, and meet our unique transit needs. I also fought for emergency SBA loans for our small businesses and set up vaccination clinics, food drives and job fairs. I am deeply committed to Gwinnett’s vision, which is a truly diverse community representing people and cultures from across our country and around the world.

“Georgia’s 7th District deserves a representative who understands its issues,” she added. “I’m Gwinnett’s representative in the race for a predominantly Gwinnett district. The people of 7th deserve a representative who understands and cares about their needs and who has fought for them in Washington before. It is a relentless honor for me to serve the people of Gwinnett and the 7th District of Georgia, and I look forward to continuing to do so.

Georgia Congressmen are not required to live in the districts they represent, although most do, and neither McBath nor Bourdeaux live in the newly drawn 7th District, with Bourdeaux drawn just on the other side. border in Republican Andrew Clyde’s district.

The McBath District was at the heart of the congressional mapping debate during the Legislative Assembly’s special redistribution session. With Kemp’s signing, his current district will extend north from the left-hand suburbs of Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties to more rural and conservative parts of Cherokee, Forsyth and Dawson counties, moving from a district that gave to President Joe Biden 55.7% of the vote in 2020 to the one who was in favor of Donald Trump with 57.8% of the vote.

House Democrats continued to disparage the card on Monday ahead of the vote to approve it. Brookhaven Rep. Matthew Wilson said his intention was to “shoot and legislate congresswoman Lucy McBath and scatter to the winds the black and brown voters who put her down.”

“The truth is that these cards continue the same experiment that Georgia has conducted for most of its history, the one we continued in March by passing Senate Bill 202: diluting and suppressing the voices of black Georgians and browns to keep the whites in power, ”he said. “It’s blatant, and it’s shameful, and we all know it.”

Republicans have widely described statements like Wilson’s as political postures.

Pro speaker Tem Jan Jones said changes in McBath District were needed to retain the districts, even because the population has grown dramatically in metropolitan areas while declining elsewhere in the state.

“The map you have in front of you is a fair and legal map, and one that clearly reflects population changes,” she said. “I’m also ready to call it as it is on the minority party for ripping a district out of Congress, whether it’s the 6th, 7th, 14th, what do you want, as if that’s a jigsaw puzzle full. It is misleading and misleading.

McBath was seen as the child star of political power among Georgia’s younger and more diverse suburban voters, claiming a victory over Republican Karen Handel in 2018 before cementing her victory in a decisive rematch in 2020.

It was the same year that Bourdeaux overthrew the neighboring district, which includes parts of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, with an equally narrow victory over Republican Rich McCormick, two years after losing to incumbent Rob Woodall by less of 500 votes.

She has positioned herself as a moderate, frustrating those on her left flank at times, but her now blue-purple district is expected to dramatically increase her share of Biden voters, from 53.3% to 63.1%, by putting her Forsyth pregnant again. at McBath and expansion into part of northern Fulton.

Bourdeaux would enter the race with a starting advantage, said Charles Bulloch, professor of political science at the University of Georgia.

“It’s going a bit in Fulton County, but in terms of who represented them, a lot of it has been represented by Bourdeaux in the last 9, 10 months, while McBath really hasn’t represented much. , so she has to get out there, introduce herself, take talks, do whatever she can to be present in the district which is largely the southern half of Gwinnett County, ”he said .

But McBath is far from a political figure, and a battle between the two would attract a lot of attention, not to mention the money. McBath’s campaign has grossed over $ 2.4 million this year, and Bourdeaux is not far behind with over $ 1.9 million raised.

With two big names and two big war treasures, viewers should expect to familiarize themselves with the faces of the two women as they vote.

“You have three-quarters of a million people living in the neighborhood, so you can’t go knocking on everyone’s door,” Bullock said. “So this will be the kind of campaign that is going to spend a lot of money on Atlanta-area TV, which is expensive, so they will. (McBath) has an advantage, I think, in that she’s one of the primary spokespersons for gun regulation, and that will help her fundraise, not just in Georgia, but across the board. the country.

The chance to represent a safe, metropolitan district of Atlanta could attract other candidates, especially from the left of McBath and Bourdeaux, Bullock said. State Representative Donna McLeod announced her candidacy via Twitter shortly after the cards were approved.

McLeod, a Democrat from Lawrenceville, is a chemical engineer born in Jamaica and moved to Georgia in 1998. She was first elected in 2018.

An expensive and high-profile fight between Democrats would suit the Georgia GOP perfectly, especially when it doesn’t matter who wins in the 7th District, the 6th will likely go to a Republican, increasing the party’s lead in Congress from 8 to 6 to 9 to 5.

“Georgians have suffered from the failed representation of Lucy McBath and the unwavering support of Joe Biden’s disastrous economic program,” said Garrison Douglas, press secretary for the Republican National Committee for Georgia. “Lucy McBath’s decision to run against Carolyn Bourdeaux shows how desperate she and the Democrats are to hold on to power, and the Republicans are ready to defeat whoever comes out on top.”

It remains to be seen how well Georgia Republicans handle the fighting within the party in 2022 – former President Donald Trump lambasted Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for perceived disloyalty following Trump’s defeat in Georgia in 2020, which could pave the way for some GOP primaries too.

McBath’s announcement put an exclamation mark on the final streak of a controversial special session, but Democrats could work on a sequel in the form of a trial on the Congress card as well as legislative cards from the State House and Senate, that they claimed to violate the right to vote.

Speaker of the House Dave Ralston did not appear disturbed by the prospect on Monday after adjournment.

“I think at the end of the day it’s up to the courts to assess whether the cards are fair), and I guess they will tell us eventually,” he said. “I guess there will be lawsuits galore, quickly, and that’s fine. There was the last time, and they were all fired, and I think that will be the ultimate test.