Georgia Redistricting Creates Face-Off Between 2 Democratic Congresswomen

Lucy McBath plans to run for a new safely blue seat in the 7th District against Carolyn Bourdeaux after the GOP made McBath's district unwinnable.

Two Democratic congresswomen in Georgia will face off in next year’s midterm election after the Republican-controlled state legislature redrew one of the two lawmakers’ districts to make it safely red.

Rep. Lucy McBath announced Monday that she plans to run for a safely Democratic seat created in Atlanta’s northern suburbs against Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, launching the third 2022 primary between two incumbents.

The face-off between the party’s newer members arose after Georgia Republicans approved a new congressional map earlier Monday that drastically changed the two Democrats’ swing seats for the next decade, until another census. The redistricting left just one winnable seat ― the 7th District ― for McBath and Bourdeaux, both of whom flipped Republican-held seats in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

“After my son’s death, I made a promise to him. I promised that, for as long as I am alive, I will do every single thing in my power to keep what happened to our family from happening to others,” she said in a statement. “Today, I intend to keep that promise. Brian Kemp, the Republican Party, and the NRA will not have the final say on when my work in Congress on behalf of my son is done.”

McBath teen son, Jordan Davis, was shot dead by a white man at a Florida gas station in 2012 over the volume of music in Davis’ car. The incident launched McBath’s activism on gun safety, first as a spokesperson for Moms Demand Action, and then in political office.

“Black women are often told to stand down and step aside. Those are two things I simply will not do,” she added in her statement Monday. “So I am running in the newly created Democratic district. For my son and all those lost too soon.”

McBath’s statement did not specifically name Bordeaux.

Last week, Bordeaux announced her intent to run for reelection in the 7th District, which includes much of Gwinnett County. McBath currently represents the 6th District, which includes portions of Fulton, Cobb and DeKalb counties. The new district most closely resembles Bourdeaux’s current territory, though McBath would be a high-profile and challenging candidate to face.

McBath’s life experiences, including surviving breast cancer twice, supported her moderately liberal policy stances, running in 2018 on tougher gun safety regulations, affordable health care, reproductive rights and preserving middle-class tax cuts. McBath successfully ousted then-GOP Rep. Karen Handel in the moderate-leaning suburban district, which until the redistricting had been an increasingly diverse and relatively affluent hub of mostly Republicans with a growing number of Democrats. She beat Handel again in 2020’s election.

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) at a July 21 news conference introducing the Medicaid Saves Lives Act. Republican redistricting in Georgia has turned her reelection bid into a contest against a fellow Democrat.
Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) at a July 21 news conference introducing the Medicaid Saves Lives Act. Republican redistricting in Georgia has turned her reelection bid into a contest against a fellow Democrat.
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Bourdeaux, the Georgia state Senate’s former budget director, narrowly lost to then-GOP Rep. Rob Woodall in a neighboring district in 2018. Woodall retired ahead of the 2020 election, which Bordeaux narrowly won against Republican Rich McCormick, flipping the district blue.

The congresswoman, who moved to Gwinnett County soon before her 2018 race against Woodall, released a statement Monday touting her “deep connections with the diverse communities in our district” and the fact that “local leaders have my cell phone number” to collaborate on issues such as lower health care costs, universal pre-kindergarten and improved transportation.

“Georgia’s 7th district deserves a representative that understands their issues. I am the Gwinnett representative in the race for a predominantly Gwinnett district,” Bourdeaux said. “The people of the 7th deserve a representative that understands and cares about their needs and has a record of fighting for them in Washington. It’s my hard-fought honor to serve the people of Gwinnett and GA’s 7th district, and I look forward to continuing to do so.”