ATLANTA – U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath wasted little time Monday announcing a change of plans after Republicans in the Georgia House gave final passage to a new congressional map that would likely flip her 6th Congressional District to the GOP.
Within an hour of the virtually party line vote in the General Assembly, McBath, D-Marietta announced she will run in the newly redrawn and much more Democrat-friendly 7th District next year.
The move potentially sets up a primary showdown with fellow Democratic Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux of Suwanee, who won that Gwinnett County-based seat last year.
“It is no mystery why Republicans and the NRA (National Rifle Assocation) have decided I’m their top target,” said McBath, who was elected in 2018 on an anti-gun platform after her teenage son was shot to death.
“As a Black woman, activist, and mother on a mission—they would like nothing more than to stop me from speaking truth to power about the gun lobby and Republican Party in Congress. So let me make something very clear: I refuse to stand down.”
The new congressional map drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature changes the 6th from a racially diverse competitive district including East Cobb, North Fulton and North DeKalb counties to a predominantly white, more rural district by extending its boundaries north through all of Forsyth and Dawson counties and eastern Cherokee County. Former President Donald Trump carried the district as newly redrawn by 26 points over President Joe Biden.
On the other hand, changes to the 7th District increased its minority voting-age population to 67%.
Bourdeaux is expected to run for reelection to the 7th District seat, even though the new map draws her into the staunchly conservative, heavily Republican 9th district in Northeast Georgia. Federal law allows members of the U.S. House to live outside of the districts they represent.
Bourdeaux picked up a key supporter during the weekend when former Atlanta Mayor and Congressman Andrew Young endorsed her reelection bid. Young already had endorsed Bourdeaux more than a year ago, but the renewed stamp of approval is timely considering the new congressional map.
Bourdeaux, who is white, has taken some criticism from progressive Democrats for taking moderate positions in the House, notably in pushing for a vote on Biden’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill before the House voted on the Build Back Better social spending legislation that remains pending in the U.S. Senate.
However, her position was vindicated when the House eventually did pass the infrastructure bill ahead of the Build Back Better bill. Bourdeaux emerged from the intra-party dispute as a major backer of the kinds of transportation improvements vital to traffic-choked Gwinnett County.
On Monday, McBath aimed her fire at Gov. Brian Kemp, his fellow Republicans and the gun lobby.
“Simply put, I will not let Brian Kemp, the NRA, and the Republican Party decide when my work in Congress on behalf of my son is done,” she said. “Black women are often expected to stand down and step aside, and those are two things I simply refuse to do.”
This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.