First proposed redistricting map indicates trouble for Lucy McBath
The news this week coming from the state capitol was not good news for U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, as she and voters learned that Republicans in the Georgia Senate are targeting her 6th Congressional District, comprising East Cobb, North Fulton, and North DeKalb counties. DeKalb County voters were credited with allowing McBath to oust former U.S. Rep. Karen Handel, R-Roswell, in 2018 and again in a 2020 rematch. Holding the seat would become harder for McBath in 2022 under the proposed Senate map, which would put all of heavily Republican Forsyth County inside the 6th District for the first time. The district would retain East Cobb and North Fulton but lose northern DeKalb County.
Georgia lawmakers redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts once each decade to account for changes in population reflected in the U.S. Census. Special redistricting sessions usually take place during the late summer, but the process was delayed this year because of the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on completing and releasing the census has pushed the General Assembly’s special redistricting session to November.
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, who presides over the Georgia Senate, and Sen. John Kennedy, chairman of the chamber’s Redistricting and Reapportionment Committee, put out a proposed congressional district map that would increase the size of districts south of Interstate 20 down to rural South Georgia to reflect losses in population during the last decade. These Georgia counties would gain huge swaths of territory to compensate for population losses since the 2010 census.
Duncan defended the proposed map as in keeping with guidelines the Senate committee set last month, saying, “This map not only meets principles of redistricting, but we are proud to present a map that regardless of political party, Georgians can be proud of. Ensuring that any maps we produce are fair, compact, and keep communities of interest together will continue to be of upmost importance.”
Federal law requires congressional districts to be virtually equal in population. The special session will begin on Nov. 3 and is expected to run into the week of Thanksgiving.