Georgia’s incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Lucy McBath is undeterred.
After a federal judge on Thursday upheld the state’s controversial Republican-led redistricting plan intended to create more Black voting districts, McBath announced her plans to seek election in a district different from Georgia’s 7th Congressional District that she’s represented on Capitol Hill since her reelection in 2022.
McBath’s new campaign plans for the mean she will be running in a newly drawn congressional district for the third consecutive election cycle, which she has said is the unsuccessful result of Republicans trying to gerrymander her out of Congress.
“I hope that the judicial system will not allow the state Legislature to suppress the will of Georgia voters,” McBath said in a statement. “However, if the maps passed by the state Legislature stand for the 2024 election cycle, I will be running for reelection to Congress in GA-06, because too much is at stake to stand down now.”
Spurred to run for office in part by the death of her son — Jordan Davis was shot to death at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida in 2012 after a white man opened fire into the car he was sitting in with friends over complaints about their loud music — McBath was first elected to Congress in 2018 and defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Karen Handel to win a seat in a traditional GOP stronghold previously represented by Newt Gingrich, a staunch conservative. She won reelection in 2020 in a rematch against Handel.
But ahead of the 2022 election, Georgia redrew its congressional maps in an effort that removed the heavily Democratic-leaning Dekalb County from McBath’s district and added more conservative-voting counties, promoting her to instead run in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District, which she currently represents.
And now, with this week’s redistricting plan being upheld, McBath will be yet again running in a different district from the one she most recently represented — the third straight time she has been prompted to do so.
The current iteration of Georgia’s 6th Congressional District includes portions of metro Atlanta.
U.S. District Judge Steve Jones rejected claims that Republican legislators violated his October ruling that threw out the state’s district lines drawn two years ago. Jones had decided that the old maps illegally diluted Black voting strength, but his decision Thursday upholds the state’s redrawn districts.
Plaintiffs in the case had argued that the new maps illegally disenfranchised Black voters by carving up a multiracial Atlanta-area district held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, but Jones rebuffed that argument.
“Redistricting decisions by a legislative body with an eye toward securing partisan advantage does not alone violate” the Voting Rights Act, wrote Jones, who was appointed by President Barack Obama. “… The court finds that the General Assembly fully complied with this court’s order requiring the creation of a majority-Black congressional district in the region of the state where vote dilution was found.”
Black leaders in Georgia initially praised Jones’ decision to create two new Black-majority voting districts.
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