Red Light or Blue Light in 6th and 7th Districts

Red Light or Blue Light in 6th and 7th Districts

Redistricting shifted the political landscape, leading to headline-making Democratic primary.

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

(From left) Democrat Lucy McBath; State Rep. Donna McLeod; ncumbent Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux
(From left) Democrat Lucy McBath; State Rep. Donna McLeod; ncumbent Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux

The political fate of the 6th and 7th congressional districts were tied together in the post-2020 Census redistricting.

Republicans were feeling blue about losing the 6th district seat — formerly held by Newt Gingrich, Johnny Isakson, Tom Price, and Karen Handel — until losing in 2018 to Democrat Lucy McBath.

Redistricting has them seeing the possibility of red again. The Republican-majority General Assembly created a more GOP – friendly 6th, comprised of northeast Cobb County, northern Fulton County, northwest Gwinnett County, and all of Forsyth and Dawson counties.

At the same time, a brighter blue streak runs through the 7th district, which takes in most of Gwinnett County, which has trended Democratic in recent years, as well as a slice of eastern Fulton County.

Democrat Lucy McBath will leave the 6th congressional district to challenge Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in the 7th.

The redrawn lines prompted McBath to jump into the 7th district Democratic primary against incumbent Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux and state Rep. Donna McLeod. Just as McBath flipped the 6th blue in 2018, Bourdeaux did the same in the 7th in 2020.

Already concerned about maintaining its slim majority in the U.S. House, this race ensures that one current Democratic congresswoman will not be returning.

“I don’t see this as dividing the party, but I do see the extreme partisan gerrymandering of GA-6, which is what forced McBath to run in GA-7, as quite problematic. Both McBath and Bourdeaux are outstanding and effective representatives, and it’s a shame that partisan gerrymandering by Republicans will force one of them to leave Congress,” said Michael Rosenzweig, an Atlantan and a member of the Jewish Democratic Council of America national board.
Bourdeaux told public radio station WABE, “If the shoe were on the other foot, it would not have crossed my mind in a million years to go over to the 6th and run against her.”

Incumbent Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux is being challenged in the 7th district by current 6th district congresswoman Lucy McBath.

McBath told WABE that the move “was about my work to honor my son,” 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was shot to death in 2012 outside a Florida convenience store by a man angered at the volume of music coming from a car the teen was in.

“To keep that promise to my son and my family and my community, I have just refused to let Brian Kemp and the NRA gun lobby, and the Republican Party decide who represents our communities in Georgia,” she said. “I’ve had many people say to me, ’I think you’re making the right decision. It’s a difficult decision, of course, but I think it’s the right decision.’”

As of March 31, McBath had reported cash on hand of nearly $2.8 million and Bourdeaux had $2.1 million. The race has also attracted outside political action committees with Protect Our Future PAC spending $1.9 million thus far and Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund $508,000, both to the benefit of McBath.

State Rep. Donna McLeod is challenging current U.S. Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath in the 7th district.

The Republican ballot in the 7th district will list Michael Corbin, a telecommunications manager; businessman Mark Gonsalves, educator Lisa McCoy, security consultant Yg Nyghtstorm, and former state Rep. and Sen. Mary West.

McBath’s departure from the 6th district drew nine Republican hopefuls to a primary that the party expects will determine the district’s next House member: attorney Jake Evans, small business owner Byron Gatewood, former state Rep. Megan Hanson, small business owner Blake Harbin, Dr. Rich McCormick (whom Bourdeaux defeated in 2020), entrepreneur Paulette Smith, former teacher and small business owner Mallory Staples, conservative activist Suzy Voyles, and small business owner Eugene Yu.

Bob Christian, who has worked in restaurant management, and Wayne White, who has worked for international aid organizations, are the Democratic candidates.

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