Georgia braces for congressional redistricting
With legislative maps passed, state lawmakers prepare to redraw Georgia's 14 congressional districts
Lawmakers at the Georgia State Capitol are preparing to enter a critical new phase of the 2021 redistricting session.
The final set of state legislative maps were approved on Monday and are awaiting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature. Now, state lawmakers are going to spend the next several days redrawing Georgia’s 14 congressional districts. It’s a process that state lawmakers must undertake at the beginning of every decade in order to reflect population shifts reflected in the recent census.
The looming battle is almost certainly going to have national implications: Republicans are seeking to win back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022, and they only need 5 seats to do so. They could receive a boost from Republican-controlled state legislatures who could redraw some districts that benefit their party.
Georgia could very well be one of those states. In September, Republican leaders in the State Senate were the first to introduce a congressional redistricting draft, which can be seen above to the right. Their map would transform Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux’s (D-Suwanee) Gwinnett-based 7th district into a solidly Democratic seat at the expense of making Rep. Lucy McBath’s (D-Marietta) suburban 6th district more competitive.
With state legislative redistricting complete, Speaker David Ralston and House Republican leaders could present their own congressional redistricting plan as early as Tuesday.
Regardless of how the proposals look, Republicans in both chambers appear likely to have the same goal: make new solidly Democratic district in the Atlanta suburbs — likely in Gwinnett County, in order to ease the creation of a new Republican-leaning district.
It’s a configuration that would give Washington Republicans a much-appreciated boost as they fight to regain control of Congress. And it would also make Georgia ground zero in the battle for control of Capitol Hill (sound familiar?).
Keep in mind that while both chambers will be introducing their own proposals, they can only pass one of them. So while the Republican majority’s ability to pass a map is not in question, the battle over the final map will be very interesting to watch.
Republicans in both chambers are going to have to make some concessions if they are going to agree on a map. And they are running out of time: Ralston has said that he would like for the redistricting session to conclude by Thanksgiving. So lawmakers are also in a race against the clock as they enter this new phase of the redistricting session.