Georgia’s redistricting process has caused Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA-06) to flee the 6th Congressional District, leaving an open seat.
McBath has left the race for the 6th District and is running in the much bluer, neighboring new 7th District, taking on fellow Democrat incumbent U.S. Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA-07). The new District 7 has a partisan rating of D+16. According to the FEC, McBath has raised $3,199,954.75 and has a war chest of $2,452,731.80 cash on hand. Bourdeaux has $2,005,771.81 cash on hand and has raised $2,406,048.45 for the 2022 election cycle.
Prior to redistricting, Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight gave Georgia’s 6th Congressional District a partisan rating of D+1. It is now rated R+24. The Cook Political Report currently rates the race for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District as Solid Republican.
FEC records, as of the last report, shows several candidates in the Republican field who have filed campaign finance reports or candidate documents. The most prolific fundraisers among the Republican candidates are former Marine pilot Dr. Rich McCormick, attorney Jake Evans, former teacher and small business owner Mallory Staples, former member of the Georgia House of Representatives Meagan Hanson, and businessman Blake Harbin.
As of the December 31, 2021 deadline, FEC records show that Dr. McCormick has raised $1,949,401.72 and has $1,147,595.03 cash on hand. Evans has raised $1,156,396.94 and has $1,006,587.10 on hand. The Staples campaign has raised $572,267.08 and has $476,110.03 on hand.
Hanson has raised $416,976.66 and currently has $279,456.01 cash on hand. Harbin has raised $251,592.66 and has $169,259.39 on hand. At just over $1.1 million and $1 million respectively, McCormick and Evans have significantly more cash on hand than the rest of the GOP field.
McCormick was the 2022 GOP nominee for Georgia’s 7th District, losing to Bourdeaux by 2.8%. Harbin ran in the 2020 GOP primary for the 6th District, coming in third place with 4.9% of the vote. Former U.S. Representative Karen Handel won that primary handily, attaining over 74% of the vote. Handel lost in the general election to McBath, who had defeated her in the 2018 midterm election to win the seat.
Given the new partisan advantage that Republicans in the 6th District now have, it is considered highly likely that the candidate who wins the GOP primary will win the seat.
Ongoing litigation does make the future of Georgia’s new district maps uncertain.
The new district lines were signed into law on December 30, 2021 by Republican Governor Brian Kemp. Lawsuits were then filed challenging the new lines alleging that the maps violate the Voting Rights Act. Injunctive relief was requested and was recently denied. A federal judge ruled that the new lines will stand for this year’s elections, because it would be too disruptive to the election process.
After careful review and consideration, the Court finds that while the plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to ultimately prove that certain aspects of the State’s redistricting plans are unlawful, preliminary injunctive relief is not in the public’s interest because changes to the redistricting maps at this point in the 2022 election schedule are likely to substantially disrupt the election process. As a result, the Court will not grant the requests for preliminary injunctive relief.
According to the judge’s ruling, the cases against the new district lines continue, but as of this writing, the new lines are scheduled to stand for this year’s elections as injunctive relief was denied. It is currently unclear how these lawsuits will ultimately affect Georgia’s district maps after the 2022 elections.
The U.S. House primaries in Georgia will take place on May 24.
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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected] Follow Aaron on GETTR.