By JEFF AMY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) – Democrats in Georgia released their favorite version of a congressional map on Thursday – a plan that is unlikely to lead anywhere in the state’s Republican-controlled General Assembly.
The proposal would likely divide Georgia’s congressional districts 7-7 between Democrats and Republicans, compared to the current 8-6 GOP majority. Republicans have already come up with a map that could create a 9-5 Republican split, and additional GOP-sloping plans are likely.
Georgia’s redistribution showdown looms, with Governor Brian Kemp setting November 3 as the first day of a special session to create new maps for Georgia’s 14 seats in the United States as well as 56 seats of the Senate and 180 state seats.
Lawmakers must redraw electoral districts at least once every ten years after the U.S. census to equalize populations. The process is an important factor in which the party will hold power for the next decade.
The once-secure Republican majorities have eroded in Georgia, particularly in metro Atlanta. Ten years ago, Republicans controlled 10 of the 14 seats in Congress. President Joe Biden and American senses Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff have proven that it is possible for Democrats to win statewide. But the redistribution gives the GOP a chance to consolidate its grip on power in the state and help the party in its efforts to take control of the US House.
Democrats argue their new map is superior because it creates six districts with non-white majority populations, acknowledging that this is what drives population growth in a state where whites may already be in the minority.
“This should reflect our diverse population,” Democratic Representative of the United States Bishop of Georgia Sanford said in a telephone interview. âIt should allow voters of color to elect the political candidates of their choice.
Bishop also said the card should reflect a state in which the recent narrow spectacle of Democratic victories is split 50-50.
“Georgian voters are roughly evenly divided,” he said.
Bishop said the map shows that it is possible to redraw the districts in a way that “objectively reflects the preferences of the Georgian people”. It’s probably an argument Democrats are making to voters, and possibly judges in trials challenging any Republican card.
Democrats would take the 10th Central Georgia District, from which Republican Jody Hice is stepping down to run for secretary of state, and move it to southern Cobb, Douglas and Fulton counties. They would make Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 14th district stretch across the state’s northern border, moving Republican Andrew Clyde’s 9th district south and east to focus on Athens. Republican Barry Loudermilk’s 11th District would leave Cobb County and instead add Forsyth County and part of Hall County. Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux would get a district that would only include parts of Gwinnett County.
Democrat Lucy McBath’s 6th District, targeted for GOP-friendly changes in an initial Republican plan, is said to be almost intact. The Democratic plan would leave most of the re-election candidates living in their districts, unlike the GOP’s original plan, which would leave Loudermilk and Clyde out of bounds. U.S. lawmakers don’t have to live in their district, and Georgia Democrat David Scott has long lived outside the 13th district he represents.
For the first time in more than 50 years, Georgia is beginning a redistribution without federal oversight. A 2013 Supreme Court ruling removed mandatory federal approval of new cards for Georgia and all or part of 15 other states with a history of discrimination in voting.
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