Redistricting special session ends with approval of congressional map
The Georgia House passed the new congressional map along party lines 96-68. It now joins the state’s legislative map awaiting Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature.
While the Senate approved the map on Friday, the House Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Committee held its final hearing on Saturday, setting the stage for today’s debate before the vote.
Democratic lawmakers slammed Republicans for rushing the process and weakening minority voting power by dividing Cobb County into four districts. Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 14th District now dips down from the Georgia-Tennessee line to include Austell and Powder Springs in south Cobb County.
U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, a Democrat, is now in a district that goes from northeast Cobb County and stretches north into Dawson County and other Republican strongholds.
“What you did was intentionally target incumbent women and women of color to dilute their power and silence their voices, “ said Rep. Matt Wilson (D- Brookhaven).
Republicans defended the map as part of a large, complicated puzzle with shifts in population growth.
The 2020 census showed Georgia’s growth came in urban areas, while rural parts lost residents.
Rep. Jan Jones (R-Milton), Speaker Pro-Tempore, told fellow lawmakers the 6th District was connected to areas with decreased population.
“The districts touching it (6th District) could not escape, and those not touching it required changes that it and all other districts could not escape,” Jones said on the House floor.
Democrats expect to challenge the maps in court based on issues such as the speed of the process and the state’s changing demographics.
“Georgia has changed; a million people moved into Georgia in the last 10 years,” Rep. James Beverly, House Minority Leader. “Largely, people of color moved into certain regions.”
House Speaker David Ralston believes the map will withstand legal challenges.
“I’m assuming that there will be lawsuits galore, quickly,” Ralston told reporters after the vote. "That’s fine. There were (lawsuits) the last time, and they were all dismissed."
Shortly after the map passed, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported McBath will run in the 7th District against fellow Democrat Rep. Carolyn Bordeaux. Also announcing she’ll seek the 7th District seat was Democratic state Rep. Donna McLeod of Lawrenceville.
The General Assembly swings back into action for the 2022 session on Jan. 10.