Georgia Senate Dems propose districts that would narrow GOP majority

A lawmaker looks over a map of Georgia's political districts on Aug.  23, 2011. AJC file photo.

Credit: AJC file

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A lawmaker looks over a map of Georgia's political districts on Aug.  23, 2011. AJC file photo.

Credit: AJC file

Credit: AJC file

A week out from a special legislative session to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional districts, Georgia Senate Democrats released proposed maps that would narrow the margins between the parties in the chamber.

The proposed map from the Senate Democratic Caucus would create 25 Democratic-leaning districts, 27 Republican-leaning districts and four “competitive” districts that could favor either party. Currently, there are 34 Republicans and 22 Democrats in the Georgia Senate.

Since the Legislature is controlled by Republicans, it’s highly unlikely the Democrats’ proposal will have any influence on the process when lawmakers begin a special session next week.

Democrats say their proposed district lines more accurately reflect the near 50/50 split of voters in recent elections.

Republican Brian Kemp defeated Democrat Stacey Abrams 50.2%-48.8% in the 2018 governor’s race. Democrat Joe Biden last year won 49.5% of the state’s presidential vote to Republican Donald Trump’s 49.3%.

“Our map reflects Georgia’s growing diversity, and it is responsive to the will of the people,” said Senate Democratic Leader Gloria Butler, D-Stone Mountain. “We cannot create maps that allow any party to be immune from accountability.”

The proposed map from the Democrats would move Senate District 7 from South Georgia to Democratic-leaning Gwinnett County. State Sen. Tyler Harper, an Ocilla Republican, currently represents District 7 but is leaving office to run for agriculture commissioner. Senate Districts 17 in McDonough, 46 in Athens and 56 in Roswell also would favor Democrats. All three seats are currently held by Republicans.

Every 10 years, the Legislature is tasked with redrawing state House, Senate and congressional districts to align with population shifts determined by the U.S. census. Each Senate district should have about 191,000 residents, and many seats will have to be adjusted because the state’s population continues to shift from rural areas to cities.

The maps come after state Democrats last week released a proposed congressional map that also would create a near 50/50 split of Georgia’s 14 U.S. House districts. Senate Republicans last month also released their proposed congressional maps, which would create an additional Republican-leaning district.

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