7th District Chooses New U.S. House Representative

7th District Chooses New U.S. House Representative

The race for an open seat pits the Democratic public policy professor against a Republican doctor and military veteran.

Dave Schechter is a veteran journalist whose career includes writing and producing reports from Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

In 2018, Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux came within an electoral whisker – 433 votes out of 280,000 cast – of unseating incumbent Republican Rep. Rob Woodall.

Woodall opted not to seek re-election in 2020. After winning their respective primaries, Bourdeaux this time faces Republican Rich McCormick. The race is considered a toss-up by pollsters.

The 7th covers much of Gwinnett County and the southern half of Forsyth County. In recent years the district’s demographics have changed as the white population in Gwinnett County dipped below 50 percent.

As of their June 30 campaign finance reports, Bourdeaux had nearly $760,000 in cash on hand, while McCormick had $105,000.

Speaking last month to the Atlanta chapter of the Republican Jewish Coalition, McCormick described himself as “a crayon-eating Marine who just breaks through walls.” He is an emergency room doctor at Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville. His wife, Dr. Debra Miller-McCormick, is an oncologist. The couple have seven children.

Rich McCormick

McCormick served 20 years in the armed forces, as a Marine Corps helicopter pilot and, after medical school, as a Navy commander, including deployment to Afghanistan. He is a graduate of the Morehouse School of Medicine, which he mentions when asked about Republican Party outreach to the African American community.

McCormick opposes the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” but in late September said on Twitter, “In Congress, I will not support any healthcare proposal that does not protect patients with pre-existing conditions and end surprise medical billing.”

Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, McCormick told the Gwinnett Daily Post in August: “My biggest disappointment is that the treatment of patients has been politicized rather than allowing doctors to do their job.” He has advocated on behalf of hydroxychloroquine, the controversial anti-malaria drug not approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19 but touted by President Donald Trump.

Carolyn Bourdeaux

As she did in 2018, Bourdeaux has made health care the central issue of her campaign. Bourdeaux frequently cites the financial drain suffered by her parents when her father was ill. She favors expanding the ACA by adding a public option for individuals and small businesses.

In response to reports that Trump administration officials pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to alter reports, Bourdeaux said on Twitter: “When politics gets in the way of public health, it’s our lives that are on the line. Trump and his enablers like @RichforGA [McCormick] have downplayed the threat of COVID-19 and manipulated the facts at every turn.”

In responding to a questionnaire by the Jewish Insider news site, McCormick said, “Sadly, there is an element of antisemitism on the fringe of both the political left and the political right. Far-left elements of the Democratic party, including some members of Congress, have made antisemitic remarks and posts on social media. Likewise, the extreme right white supremacy groups embrace Nazi symbolism and perpetuate hateful stereotypes. In light of these groups, I don’t believe anti-Semitism is ‘rising’ in either party. However, polarization of our political system is increasing, and this polarization legitimizes fringe elements of both parties, which creates the appearance of increasing antisemitism on both sides of the political aisle.”

McCormick has been critical of one Jew in particular, billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros. Appearing June 19 on the Patriots’ Soapbox News Network, McCormick said, “And if you look at what Soros did, I just heard today – and I don’t want to get conspiracy [sic] on you or anything like that, but — $20 million was donated to Black Lives Matter, basically through ActBlue, basically, as a way to incite more violence and unrest to get people to vote the wrong way based on the narrative that we know is false.”

Bourdeaux is not Jewish, but her husband Jeffrey Skodnick, a sales manager for LexisNexis, is and their son attends Hebrew school. “I have a wonderful, very supportive set of in-laws,” Bourdeaux told the Jewish Insider news site. “I really do feel a sense of deep connection with the Jewish community here.”

In her response to the Jewish Insider question, Bourdeaux referred to comments by Trump, McCormick, and Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican candidate in Georgia’s 14th District. “Antisemitism is reprehensible, no matter what political party it comes from — and it’s alarmingly clear that anti-Semitic behavior is on the rise. … This violent, shameful rhetoric cannot be tolerated — at home or in the halls of Congress. In Congress, I’ll ensure federal agencies investigate white supremacist organizations and anti-Semitic violence with the thoroughness it deserves,” Bourdeaux said.

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