PG A.M.: Physical contact inflames McCormick, Taylor Greene tensions

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has accused U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick, a fellow Georgia Republican, of touching her in an aggressive and inappropriate way. (Nathan Posner for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has accused U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick, a fellow Georgia Republican, of touching her in an aggressive and inappropriate way. (Nathan Posner for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has accused U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick, a fellow Georgia Republican, of touching her in an aggressive and inappropriate way.

McCormick, the freshman lawmaker from Suwanee, insists the contact was a “friendly gesture” and that he meant no harm.

The exchange, first reported by CNN, is the latest example of the tensions within the House Republican caucus. It is also indicative of the simmering bad blood between Greene and McCormick after their competing efforts to censure Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan for inflammatory rhetoric about the Israel-Hamas war.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution confirmed much of CNN’s reporting, which describes a recent interaction between the two Georgia lawmakers on the House floor. The altercation happened days after the House killed Greene’s censure resolution and instead passed McCormick’s effort to reprimand Tlaib, the only Palestinian-American in Congress.

U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick is a freshman lawmaker from Suwanee. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for the AJC

The day of the incident, members were back on the House floor and McCormick told others he was trying to have a conversation with a Republican colleague from another state who had opposed his censure measure. That member refused to speak to him.

By coincidence, according to McCormick’s telling, he noticed Greene, R-Rome, nearby. While touching her on her shoulders, McCormick commented about how, despite their own disagreement, he felt they still had an open line of communication.

Greene recoiled immediately and told McCormick she didn’t appreciate him touching her, according to CNN. McCormick also said she pulled away and that he apologized and told Greene he didn’t mean to offend her.

Greene later told House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., that McCormick approached her in a manner she saw as aggressive and threatening, according to CNN. Greene’s office did not return requests for comment from the AJC.

Meanwhile, McCormick’s office issued a statement that made clear he and Greene are steering clear of one another:

“I understand why there would be a lot of raw emotions following the censure vote given that her censure was tabled and mine passed,” McCormick said. “My intention was to encourage her by making a friendly gesture. I said to her, ‘At least we can have an honest discussion,’ to which she said she did not appreciate that. For that I immediately apologized and have not spoken to her since.”

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State Sen. Bo Hatchett, R-Cornelia, speaks about a redistricting bill  during the special legislative session at the Capitol in Atlanta on Tuesday, December 5, 2023. (Arvin Temkar/arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

ALMOST DONE. With two days left until a Dec. 8 deadline set by federal Judge Steve Jones to submit redrawn redistricting maps, the Georgia House and Senate are nearly done approving new state and federal voting districts.

The state Senate has approved all three maps, while the House has only the congressional map to finish.

The entire process has left raw feelings as Democrats accuse Republicans of hurting minority voters and members with their reconfigured maps. Even some Republicans have seen their districts overhauled by leaders.

The GOP leadership’s response? Revising the maps wasn’t our idea.

“We did not want to redraw these districts,” said state Sen. Bo Hatchett, R-Cornelia. “We are doing this because we were sued by Democratically affiliated groups.”

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The Georgia State Capitol. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Casey Sykes for the AJC

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Credit: Casey Sykes for the AJC

UNDER THE GOLD DOME:

  • 10 a.m.: The House gavels in.
  • 10 a.m.: The Senate convenes.
  • 1 p.m.: The House Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee meets.

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Marcus Flowers was unsuccessful in his  bid last year to topple Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Rome.  (Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

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Credit: Ben Gray for the AJC

NEW MAPS, NEW MEMBERS? The GOP-drawn congressional districts have set off a wave of Democrats interested in competing for one of the overhauled U.S. House seats.

Among those closely watching the maps is Marcus Flowers, the Democrat who raised a staggering $16.6 million in his unsuccessful bid last year to topple Republican U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Rome.

“I’m currently watching the landscape to see how things play out,” Flowers told us. “I haven’t ruled anything out at this point. Unfortunately, due to Republican gerrymandering there’s really not a decision to be made. I can’t imagine that the judge would accept the proposed maps as they are exactly the opposite of his order.”

Flowers, a military veteran, reported roughly $620,000 in campaign cash in the bank at the end of last year. Since his defeat, he helped launch a super PAC called Mission Democracy that aims to help Democrats compete in difficult congressional races.

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U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Marietta, speaks during a news conference on regional transportation and infrastructure at the Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners on Tuesday, August 29, 2023. (Arvin Temkar / arvin.temkar@ajc.com)

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

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Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

LISTEN UP: Jake Orvis, U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s top political adviser, joined Tuesday’s episode of the Politically Georgia podcast to discuss the GOP-drawn congressional maps, which would flip McBath’s current 7th District to Republican territory and create a majority Black district on Atlanta’s west side. The latest redistricting is not the first time McBath could be drawn out of her seat.

Listen and subscribe to “Politically Georgia” at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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REMEMBERING ROSALYNN CARTER. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter was just as dedicated to her public service and political goals as she was to her husband and family, a bipartisan group of Georgia lawmakers said Tuesday during a tribute on the U.S. House floor.

The memorial was led by U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, the longest-serving member of Georgia’s congressional delegation, and Rep. Austin Scott, the state’s senior Republican.

“They have been my constituents for 31 years, and they did not hold back in expressing their opinion on the issues of the day,” Bishop, D-Albany, said during his floor speech. “Together, they rose to great heights, supporting and cherishing each other along the way, from the Plains peanut fields to the White House and communities around the globe.”

In all, half of the state’s 14 delegation members joined the tribute, with Reps. Buddy Carter, R-Pooler; Hank Johnson, D-Atlanta; Barry Loudermilk, R-Cassville; Lucy McBath, D-Marietta; and Nikema Williams, D-Atlanta, also taking part. Two non-Georgia Democrats also participated: Ohio Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee.

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ANTISEMITISM RESOLUTION. The U.S. House on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning the rise of antisemitism, and the results expose the rift this issue has created among Democrats.

The final vote was 311 in favor, 14 opposed and 92 Democrats voting present. The no votes included one Republican: Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie.

U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Atlanta) was among the 95 Democrats who joined most Republicans in voting in favor of the resolution. (Nathan Posner for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

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Credit: Nathan Posner for The AJC

Among Georgia’s delegation, Reps. Sanford Bishop of Albany and David Scott of Atlanta were among the 95 Democrats who joined most Republicans in voting in favor of the resolution. But Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson of Lithonia, Lucy McBath of Marietta and Nikema Williams of Atlanta voted “present,” essentially marking their attendance without taking a position on the bill.

The pushback came at the urging of a trio of Jewish Democrats who said the resolution was flawed because it included language equating anti-Zionism to antisemitism. The term anti-Zionism is used to describe criticism of the state of Israel while antisemitism is hatred of the Jewish people.

Reps. Jerry Nadler and Dan Goldman, both of New York, and Jamie Raskin of Maryland accused Republicans of attempting to drive a wedge among Democrats.

“In order to stop the Majority from playing these political games, we will vote Present, and we urge our colleagues — regardless of their substantive views of the resolution — to do the same,” they said in a statement prior to the vote.

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TODAY IN WASHINGTON:

  • President Joe Biden participates in a virtual meeting with G7 leaders. Later, he delivers remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Summit, an annual conference with representatives from various Native American communities.
  • The Senate could vote to advance a package that provides funding for Ukraine, Israel and other national security priorities, but Republicans have threatened to use the filibuster to block it.
  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a hearing with the chief executives of major U.S. banks.
  • The House could vote on a resolution to censure U.S. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat, after he pleaded guilty to a local criminal charge for pulling a fire alarm during votes on government funding.

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HISTORY-MAKING WIN: Brookhaven City Council member John Park won the city’s mayoral election runoff Tuesday to become the first Asian-American Pacific Islander elected as a mayor in Georgia.

Park received 59% of the vote and will succeed John Ernst, who was term-limited. Park was first elected to the Brookhaven council in 2014, two years after the Dekalb County city was created. Brookhaven leaders have been criticized for ambitious redevelopment plans in recent years.

The AJC’s Sara Gregory provides a roundup of Tuesday’s other runoff races, including several upsets of incumbents.

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Dunwoody High School graduate Rose Ida Lubin, 20, a police officer with the Israel Defense Forces, was in November during a knife-attack in Jerusalem. (Courtesy photo)

Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

SLAIN SOLDIER. Georgia lawmakers adopted a resolution honoring the life of Rose Ida Lubin, an Israeli-American from Dunwoody. A police officer with the Israeli Defense Forces, Lubin was killed in a November knife attack in Jerusalem.

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Akash Bali calls the Bali family his people. One of those people is WABE’s Rahul Bali. (Courtesy photo)

Credit: Courtesy photo

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Credit: Courtesy photo

DOG OF THE DAY. Having accomplished parents can be a lot of pressure on a kid. But don’t tell Akash Contractor, the two-year-old goldendoodle who calls the Bali-Contractor family his people.

This frisbee-catching, trail-hiking, fun-loving pup hits local trails and parks with WABE’s Rahul Bali and Dr. Dhruti Contractor, an Army veteran and a local hand surgeon, and their boys.

Like a lot of dogs, Akash was the kids’ idea, but now the proud parents love him just as much. Just wait until they find out he’s the Dog of the Day.

Send us your dogs of any political persuasion and location, and cats on a cat-by-cat basis, to patricia.murphy@ajc.com, or DM us at @MurphyAJC.

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AS ALWAYS, “Politically Georgia” readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to greg.bluestein@ajc.com, tia.mitchell@ajc.com, patricia.murphy@ajc.com, and adam.vanbrimmer@ajc.com.