ATLANTA — State officials released the long-awaited proposed congressional map for Georgia Wednesday morning.
The map will now go through the legislative process in both the House and the Senate which will include public testimony and debate in both chambers.
Georgia House Speaker David Ralston issued the following statement on the proposed map:
“Today, we have released a proposed map that reflects Georgia’s growing, diverse population, respects jurisdictional lines and communities of interest, and conforms to applicable legal standards including the Voting Rights Act.”
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The House voted Monday 96-70, mostly along party lines, to approve Senate Bill 1EX, which draws lines for the 56 Senate districts.
“We are a 50-50 state; we are a battleground state,” said Rep. Bee Nguyen, an Atlanta Democrat. “We are a swing state. This map tells us a different story. This map creates a 60-40 split with the advantage given to the Republican Party for the next 10 years.”
The Republican-drawn map dramatically changes the 6th Congressional District now represented by Democrat Lucy McBath. It moves north from Cobb and north Fulton into conservative Cherokee, Forsyth and Dawson counties, making McBath’s position far more vulnerable to Republican challengers.
“Today, Republicans released another draft map to draw me out of Congress. This only strengthens my resolve to stay in Congress,” McBath said in a tweet.
At a late afternoon hearing, Gwinnett Republican lawmaker Bonnie Rich defended the redistricting process.
“This congressional map represents Georgians fairly, and it is a map we are proud of. It is not gerrymandering, but it does not represent the principles we adopted at the beginning of this process,” Rich said.
North Fulton Democrat Matthew Wilson doesn’t think the map is fair at all.
“My constituents in the north Atlanta suburbs chose during the last election, chose a Democratic representative in Congress, chose the Biden agenda, and now they’re being punished in these maps,” Wilson said.
The map also compacts Democrat Carolyn Bordeaux’s 7th District with some of the 6th and draws down Republican Andrew Clyde’s 9th deeper into northern Gwinnett.
House minority leader James Beverly said Georgia is now a purple state and should have district maps to reflect that.
“Georgia’s changed, and we need to respect the people’s right to choose the representative of their choice and not have politicians playing games with who they selected,” Beverly said.
This new map also draws down Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 14th District south into predominantly Democratic areas of Austell and Power Springs.
Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee Chairman Bonnie Rich, a Suwanee Republican, defended both the process for drawing the maps and the outcome.
“We believe it is in compliance with the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act,” Rich said.
The General Assembly must redraw electoral districts at least once every decade to equalize populations after the U.S. census.
Georgia added more than 1 million people from 2010 to 2020, with urban districts generally growing and rural districts generally shrinking.
“We cannot ignore who those Georgians are,” said Democratic state Rep. Derrick Jackson of Tyrone. “The entirety of the growth over the last decade was a result of the growth in the number of minority residents.”
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The Senate map does not pair any incumbents who intend to seek reelection to that body.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
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