NEW: Rep. David Scott to run for re-election
Scott has represented portions of southwest Metro Atlanta since 2003
U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) announced on Monday that he will run for re-election to an 11th term in Congress in 2022. The first Black chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, the 76-year-old has represented Georgia’s 13th district since it was created in 2002. The district loops around the southern and western portions of the metro Atlanta area. Scott has never faced a competitive general election in this majority-Black, heavily Democratic district.
In a press release, Scott listed some of his accomplishments and said that he is “very proud” of his work in Congress. Known for his jobs fair, Scott said that many in the district have been able to find work through the annual event. He has also hosted health fairs for those in the district who lack access to health insurance.
Scott has developed a reputation as one of the most moderate members of the House Democratic caucus. He is one of only two Black members of the Blue Dog Coalition, a faction of moderate to conservative House Democrats (the other Black member is Georgia’s Sanford Bishop).
Early in his tenure, Scott broke with his party to support President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. He has also crossed the aisle on several national security issues, from opposing the Iran nuclear agreement and supporting wars on Islamic terrorism.
In 2016, Scott endorsed the re-election campaign of Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. While he did not publicly campaign for Isakson, he praised the longtime Republican Senator as a partner and a friend. “I always look out for my partners,” he said.
In 2018, he raised eyebrows after it was reported that he donated $1,000 to Utah Republican Rep. Mia Love, the first Black Republican woman ever elected to Congress. At the time, Love was the only Republican member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Scott said that he believed that it was “important” to have people of color on both sides of the aisle and said that Love was very talented. “It is very important for us as African-Americans to look at the big picture and realize that we are in a big game here and we have to have alliances,” he said.
In terms of his voting record, Scott has become more of a reliable party-line vote in recent years. He voted for the final passage of the 2008 economic bailout during the height of the housing crisis. He supported the passage of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in 2010 as many of his moderate peers opposed it. He has also become a supporter of marriage equality after previously backing constitutional amendments that would have outlawed same-sex marriage.
Scott’s announcement is likely to ease the worries of national Democrats, as senior members of Congress in the majority party tend to resign or retire ahead of what is expected to be a bad election cycle for the party. So far, 8 House Democrats have announced their retirements, with an additional 5 running for other offices.
Georgia state legislators are set to redraw the state’s political maps during next month’s special redistricting session, but the boundaries of Scott’s district are unlikely to be radically changed during the process. Because it’s a majority-Black district, any significant changes to it could be interpreted as a violation of federal law.
It’s possible that Scott could find himself facing a primary challenge from his left. He narrowly avoided a runoff in last-year’s Democratic primary against a field of underfunded opponents, a sign that his centrist approach to politics may be falling on deaf ears in this solidly blue district. But with 2 years as Agriculture Committee chairman under his belt and over $1 million in his campaign bank account, Scott is not going to be easy to defeat.