ATLANTA – An initial proposal to redesign Georgia’s congressional districts appears to give Republicans a better chance of winning a suburban Atlanta congressional district now owned by Democrat Lucy McBath, but raises a number of other questions .
The map was released Monday by Senate Redistributing Chairman John Kennedy and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, both Republicans. There was no accompanying data, which made it impossible to judge exactly what the card would do. Beyond the changes to McBath’s 6th District, it would make suburban Atlanta’s 7th District much safer for Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux and draw Republican Andrew Clyde out of Northeast Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. in a reconfigured 10th Congressional District.
The map was released on Monday without any accompanying data, making it impossible to judge exactly what it would do. Beyond the changes to McBath’s 6th District, it would make suburban Atlanta’s 7th District much safer for Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux and draw Republican Andrew Clyde out of Northeast Georgia’s 9th Congressional District. in a reconfigured 10th Congressional District.
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It’s hard to say how seriously to take the card. In any case, the members of the State House will have their own proposals and the two houses will have to come to an agreement.
Governor Brian Kemp set November 3 as the start date of an upcoming special session last week. Lawmakers must redraw electoral districts at least once every 10 years after the U.S. census to equalize populations. The process determines which party will hold power for the next decade.
Activists had asked lawmakers to release draft maps sufficiently in advance of the session for meaningful public comment, but Republicans had seemed to indicate that was unlikely. This makes Monday’s outing a surprise, more than a month before the start of the session. Duncan and Kennedy, both Republicans, said they were “committed to continuing the practice of transparency and fairness,” qualities seldom associated with Georgia’s past redistribution processes.
The state’s overall population has grown by almost 10% to 10.7 million people over the past decade, but census results showed uneven growth, with most new residents concentrated in the area. of Atlanta and around Savannah. Most of the rural areas have lost population.
Republicans now have an 8-6 majority on Georgia’s current congressional map, down from 10-4 a decade ago after McBath captured suburban Atlanta’s 6th District and Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux captured the 7th district of suburban Atlanta.
For the first time in more than 50 years, Georgia is beginning a redistribution without federal oversight. A 2013 Supreme Court ruling removed mandatory federal approval of new cards for Georgia and all or part of 15 other states with a history of discrimination in voting.
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Republicans are under pressure to redesign at least one congressional district to be more GOP oriented. The map proposed by the State Senate aims to place the McBath District in the Republican column, putting all of Forsyth County and parts of North Fulton and Northeast Cobb in the 6th District. The 7 would become more Democratic, encompassing the southern two-thirds of Gwinnett County.
Clyde’s home in Jackson County is pulled from the 9th Arrondissement and into a remodeled 10th Arrondissement that is moving north to focus much more on Athens. U.S. officials, unlike Georgia state legislators, are not required to live in the district they represent. The current 10th District representative, Republican Jody Hice, is stepping down to run for secretary of state, making it easier for lawmakers to carve out his district if they wish.
The new 9th District, including parts of northern Gwinnett County, could be an open and strongly Republican seat.
The 12th District, now owned by Republican Rick Allen, becomes centered on the Augusta area, adding the rest of Columbia County, part of Baldwin County, and all of Glascock, Jefferson, McDuffie, Warren, Washington and Wilkinson. He abandons the counties of Appling, Coffee, Jeff Davis and Wheeler.
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The 2nd District in Southwest Georgia, held by longtime outgoing Democratic Bishop Sanford Bishop, is the district in Georgia that needs to gain the most people, being 92,000 below the ideal population of 765,000. To get there, he adds the rest of Muscogee and parts of Harris and Houston counties.
All other districts have some changes, but would not be much different from now.