Bourdeaux in matchup against McBath says she has incumbent’s edge

Carolyn Bourdeaux had heard rumors for weeks that colleague Lucy McBath was considering moving into her territory, especially after it became clear that McBath’s 6th District would be turned into a Republican stronghold.

But the news still stung on Monday.

“I’m disappointed, of course,” Bourdeaux said in an exclusive interview Monday evening. “I have a lot of respect for Lucy McBath.”

Bourdeaux insists she plans to run for re-election in 2022, even if that means facing her House colleague in a Democratic primary.

McBath describes the 7th as a newly drawn Democratic district in Gwinnett County and notes that no incumbent currently lives within its borders.

But Bourdeaux sees it differently.

While McBath plans to relocate to Gwinnett County from Marietta, Bourdeaux’s home in Suwanee is just outside the new boundaries for the 7th. She doesn’t plan to move.

Bourdeaux estimates that she represents about 60% of the voters in the new district. The new lines also include the Johns Creek area represented by McBath, but that makes up just a small fraction of the constituency.

“I am the sitting member of the 7th District,” Bourdeaux said. “I will continue to serve them as the sitting member of the 7th District. It’s the same community. And yes, I’m going to run again in the 7th District.”

Even before McBath’s declaration, Bourdeaux faced the possibility of primary challenges because her district will become a new Democratic stronghold in a diverse area of Metro Atlanta. Also on Monday, Democratic state Rep. Donna McLeod of Lawrenceville said she is running, too.

Gwinnett County school board member Everton Blair is considering it.

But McBath will be Bourdeaux’s main competition. And McBath is already previewing a campaign message: focusing on her gun control and health care advocacy and describing herself as a staunch supporter of President Joe Biden.

“I have never wavered on President Biden’s agenda. People are counting on me to get things done in Washington, and they tell me they need me there to stand up for them,” McBath told the AJC on Monday.

Bourdeaux has emphasized her centrist background during her first term in office, won in 2020 when she became the only Democrat nationwide to flip a Republican-held seat. She joined the Blue Dog Coalition, a caucus of conservative Democrats, as well as the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

She was among a group of moderate Democrats who criticized the timeline for voting on the $1.9 trillion social spending and climate change bill known as Build Back Better. Her stance irked some progressives in her district.

Bourdeaux ultimately supported that legislation and her office noted Monday that her record of supporting Biden’s policies is just as strong as McBath. FiveThirtyEight lists both lawmakers as having voted in line with the president’s position 100% of the time.

ExploreTargeted by Georgia GOP, McBath switching to safe Democratic district