Democrats Bourdeaux and McBath to take each other on in redrawn 7th District
As the election season for 2022 quickly approaches, many “must see” races are already taking shape across Georgia. As we decide which races to watch, one that has recently heated up is the redrawn 7th Congressional district, which will pit two current congressional members against each other.
After the Republican led legislature released its congressional redistricting maps last week, Congresswoman Lucy McBath found herself in jeopardy of losing the 6th district seat she was elected to for two terms. McBath’s district has been redrawn to make it heavily conservative and unwinnable by McBath or any democrat. McBath could stay in the 6th and put up a vigorous fight in a district that has been rigged for her to lose or she could pick a race somewhere else to run in.
McBath has chosen the latter and decided that her path back to Washington is to take on fellow democratic colleague Carolyn Bourdeaux, who represents the 7th Congressional district.
Bourdeaux, who is serving in her first term, won election last year to represent that district in Washington. Bourdeaux won 52% in last June’s six-way primary and went on to defeat Republican Rich McCormick. She is hoping that support from this race will help her beat McBath.
However, the 7th district has undergone changes as well. The legislature also tinkered with Bourdeaux’s district as it drew new communities into the 7th. The redrawn 7th congressional district looks a little different from when Bourdeaux originally ran and won. It is now composed mainly of Blacks, Asians, Latinos, and White liberals. This difference has given McBath the opening she needed to turn her attention away from the ‘unwinnable’ 6th and mount a campaign for the 7th. Bourdeaux’s office pointed out that the new 7th Congressional District still contains 60% of the congresswoman’s current constituents.
The two Democratic powerhouses will now become primary rivals, pitted against each other in the battle for one slot in 2022. McBath and Bourdeaux have each indicated that they are in the fight for the long haul.
Bourdeaux has vowed to win her seat back, saying she has been working the district for the last five years and she is not going anywhere now. “I’m very sorry that Lucy somehow has decided to just shift gears and come over into the Seventh,” said Bourdeaux. “But this is my district. It’s a place where I have been working for a long time. I really love this community. And so I am not going to back down.”
For her part, McBath hopes to bring to the 7th her two terms in Congress and her personal story of losing her only child, Jordan, to a shooter at a Florida gas station. During her time in Washington, McBath passed bills from gun safety to veterans’ welfare. McBath released a letter written to Jordan — which she does every year to commemorate his death —Saying Jordan is the reason why she is running. McBath announced that she’d run in the 7th District instead of the 6th. “Brian Kemp, the NRA, and the GOP will not have the final say on when I am done fighting for my son,” she wrote on Twitter.
McBath and Bourdeaux are not the only contenders in the race. State Rep. Donna McLeod, a Gwinnett Democrat, announced she’ll run for the U.S. House seat saying, “Neither lady has lived in Gwinnett County like I have for 21 years. It took decades for Gwinnett County to become a force to be reckoned with in the Democratic Party and that took a lot of work. I was there from day one.”
Representatives are not required to live in the district they represent, so McBath — who lives in Marietta — and Bourdeaux — who lives in Suwanee — technically do not need to live in central or southern Gwinnett, or Johns Creek, in order to run for the district that represents those areas. The new 7th District includes most of Lawrenceville, Duluth, Berkeley Lake, Norcross, Peachtree Corners, Lilburn, Snellville, Grayson, Dacula and Johns Creek. That district is drawn to heavily favor whoever the Democratic nominee for the seat is.
McBath and Bourdeaux ended the last quarter roughly even, with $1.9 million and $1.7 million cash on hand for next year’s race.