Donna McLeod (Facebook photo)

Democrat plans another run in ‘gerrymandered’ Gwinnett House district

The Democratic candidate who lost her previous bid for a highly competitive — and controversial — Gwinnett-based state House district plans to run again this fall. 

And Donna McLeod isn’t shying away from the gerrymandering allegations that continue to loom over House District 105, either.

“I don’t run just to run, I run because I believe in what I'm doing, period,” McLeod, a 49-year-old activist and medical industry consultant, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday. 

“I believe the district needs the kind of representation from someone who is on the ground and who understands what the district needs. And I think the fact that it was gerrymandered makes me want to run even more.”

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McLeod lost by just 200 or so votes during her 2016 pursuit of the seat occupied by Republican Rep. Joyce Chandler (who told The AJC this week she also plans to run again in November).

Chandler’s Grayson-based district was already seen as one of the most competitive in Georgia and in rapidly diversifying Gwinnett County. And it remains the subject of federal litigation that claims a controversial 2015 redistricting bill redrew it and another district in Henry County in order to extract minority voters from vulnerable Republican areas.

Two separate federal lawsuits were filed in 2017 to challenge the districts’ boundaries. One of the original suits, filed by the Georgia NAACP on behalf of several Gwinnett residents, claimed the new drawing of District 105 added nearly 1,500 new white voters while removing almost that many black, Latino and “other” voters.

That suit was eventually consolidated with separate legal action sponsored by an organization led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.  The suits are now represented in a single case that’s still being litigated in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, online records showed.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is the sole defendant in the case.

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