Barring a big Election Day upset, Rich McCormick stands to become metro Atlanta’s newest member of Congress this year.
He is already starting to think about what his first term in the U.S. House might look like and what his priorities will be. McCormick, an emergency room doctor, is likely going to have to give up his overnight shifts at the hospital.
But he plans to push that experience plus his military background as a U.S. Marine and Navy pilot to the forefront during his tenure in Washington, focusing on veterans affairs and health care issues.
McCormick can start preparing because the 6th Congressional District was redrawn to be heavily Republican, making him an overwhelming favorite over Democrat Bob Christian, the owner of a home bakery.
During a recent debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club, McCormick said tragedies he watched unfold in the ER have made him eager to get to work in Washington to address the problems he sees.
“I had four patients that died from overdose just this year alone,” he said. “I’m watching patients who can’t pay for their medications because of overwhelming inflation and energy costs, and I’m watching the devastating effects of a government overreach and how it affects each and every person’s daily life.”
- Georgia voter guide: Info about candidates, issues and elections
- Track: Early and absentee voting in Georgia
- Early voting: How to find dates and locations for metro Atlanta counties
- Senate election: Latest polls, predictions, news
- Governor election: Latest polls, predictions, news
McCormick won’t know his committee assignments until after the election. And he has not yet decided whether he will join various groups within the Republican conference, such as the conservative House Freedom Caucus. But his politics have a clear conservative libertarian bent that pits him in opposition to some initiatives advanced by President Joe Biden’s administration.
“We don’t want the government involved in our business,” he said during a virtual campaign event in August. “That’s not what made America great. Historically, we’ve been a successful nation for one principle, which is that people were empowered over a government.”
McCormick won the 6th Congressional District primary after beating attorney Jake Evans in the runoff. Evans had former President Donald Trump’s endorsement and the backing of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a longtime family friend, but McCormick enjoyed higher name recognition.
After the runoff, Trump endorsed McCormick. Gov. Brian Kemp, who is also on the midterm ballot, also recently backed the campaign.
“We need to send conservative fighters like Dr. Rich McCormick to Washington, D.C., to help rein in the disastrous Biden agenda and push back against the Democrats’ woke politics that are taking our country in the wrong direction,” Kemp said in a statement. “As a Marine helicopter pilot and emergency room physician, Rich has served this country time and time again, and I know he will stand up for hardworking Georgians in Congress.”
One of the reasons McCormick bested Evans in the primary is because many voters remembered him from his 7th Congressional District run in 2020, when he lost to Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux. During redistricting, the 7th District was drawn in a way that made it Democratic-leaning and many of its Republican voters — McCormick has put the number at 40% — were moved to the 6th District.
McCormick decided to run for that new GOP-leaning seat in 2022.
This race does not have an incumbent. U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, who currently represents the 6th District, decided to challenge Bourdeaux in the primary in the now heavily Democratic 7th District. She is now the favorite in the general election.
Republicans must flip five seats this year in order to win control of the House. The redrawn 6th District will likely help them get there.
McCormick will probably be joined by at least one other Georgia Republican as a new member of Congress. Mike Collins is a heavy favorite to win in the state’s 10th Congressional District, replacing Republican U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, who lost a primary challenge against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.
On the campaign trail, McCormick has stressed the need to rein in Washington Democrats and stop Biden from pushing forward with an agenda McCormick describes as full of wasteful spending and government handouts that have driven up inflation.
Jay Johns voted early on Tuesday at the Roswell Public Library, which falls within the 6th District. He said he marked the oval beside every Republican on the ballot, including McCormick, despite not knowing much about that race.
“I just think the way they handle the economy is just much smarter,” Johns said.
Timothy Bolton, another Roswell early voter, had a different approach. He supported Democrats Stacey Abrams and Raphael Warnock for governor and the U.S. Senate, respectively. But in the House race, he also cast his vote for McCormick.
Bolton said he had received more campaign literature from McCormick and felt he had learned more about him than Christian. So he chose the candidate he knows better.
About the Author
Credit: Miguel Martinez