The Jolt: Lucy McBath’s move opens epic GOP battle for new 6th District seat

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Dr. Rich McCormick is a Republican candidate in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. Special.

Dr. Rich McCormick is a Republican candidate in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District. Special.

Lucy McBath’s decision Monday to run in the 7th Congressional District leaves a vacancy for a Democratic candidate next year in the 6th Congressional District.

But the real action in 2022 will be on the Republican side. The newly drawn territory will stretch from Sandy Springs to Dawson County and has been configured by GOP leaders to remain red through the rest of the decade.

That also returns the district to its former status as the crown jewel of the GOP opportunities, where Newt Gingrich once plotted the Republican Revolution and Johnny Isakson rose to become a U.S. Senate contender.

Expect Rich McCormick, who narrowly lost to Bourdeaux in the 7th District in 2020, to abandon his rematch attempt there and instead jump to the 6th. An announcement could come as soon as next week.

He might have company. State Sen. Brandon Beach of Alpharetta is considering a run in the 6th. And we hear state Sen. Greg Dolezal of Cumming is kicking the tires. Another potential contender, freshman state Rep. Will Wade of Dawsonville, told us he’s not interested.

Whoever enters joins a crowded field that already includes former state Rep. Meagan Hanson, attorney Jake Evans, and several other contenders.

One final detail of the maps, as analyzed by our colleague Mark Niesse: None of the new districts in Georgia will be competitive in the short term for either party. That means the toughest challenge to any incumbent will likely come in a partisan primary, pushing the issues and competition closer to the base of both parties.


It took just minutes for U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s decision to challenge fellow Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux to reverberate under the Gold Dome, in the newly drawn 7th District and in the halls of Congress.

Some Democrats immediately endorsed McBath. Others, like Stacey Abrams, issued encouraging words to McBath that stopped short of outright support. We heard from more than a dozen local officials and activists who are staying publicly neutral for now but have privately given McBath their blessing.

But Bourdeaux isn’t throwing in the towel. She previewed a campaign message to Tia on Monday that focused on her work in the district, which has shed deep-red portions of Forsyth in favor of solidly blue areas of Fulton and Gwinnett.

Bourdeaux estimates that she currently represents about 60% of the voters in the new District 7, while McBath would only carry over her constituents from the Fulton County portion.

“I have sat in the churches, the mosques, the synagogues, the temples,” she said. “Many of the leaders of those communities also have my cell phone number. I am just somebody who has been there for them and wants to continue to be there for them.”

Yet Bourdeaux will likely be considered the underdog if she stays in the race. While she won the 7th District in 2020 by two points in November, the redrawn district is projected to be D +22. The same centrist stances that helped her win the general election could be a liability in a partisan primary against McBath.

Beyond that, McBath could have huge financial support from outside Democratic organizations, including Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group, to hammer home her candidacy.

It’s also not clear how other potential contenders will shake up the race. Nabilah Islam, who finished third in last year’s 7th District primary, quickly endorsed McBath. But state Rep. Donna McLeod announced that she’s now planning to run for the 7th District seat.

Gwinnett school board member Everton Blair had signaled he could run for the U.S. House seat, but is now more likely prepping for a run for state school board superintendent.


UNDER THE GOLD DOME: Nothing! Lawmakers have recessed sine die until January.


POSTED: An exclusive AJC poll of the Atlanta mayor’s runoff race has Andre Dickens slightly ahead of Felicia Moore with a week of campaigning to go.

More from J.D. Capelouto and Wilborn Nobles:

The poll, conducted Nov. 11-19 by the University of Georgia's School of Public and International Affairs, showed Dickens at 42.6% and Moore at 37.2%. A significant amount of the electorate, about 20%, remains undecided.

Dickens' lead is greater than the poll's 3.5% margin of error, but not large enough to be considered statistically significant, said Trey Hood, the director of UGA's Survey Research Center.

The results suggest Dickens, who finished a distant second to Moore in the Nov. 2 general election, is gaining momentum in the final days of the race.

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop will have slightly more competitive territory in southwest Georgia in his 2022 election. He’s also drawn a new challenger.

Republican Wayne Johnson entered the race Tuesday. He was a top official in the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid before resigning to run for the U.S. Senate in 2019. He wound up abandoning his campaign, which was focused on canceling much of the nation’s student debt.

This time, he plans to promote a broader message.

“Rural healthcare, family-wage jobs, senior care, support for farmers and a quality education for their children are important things that people care about and that I will focus on,” he said.


While Georgia candidates are focused on 2022, Donald Trump is focused on Georgia and four other states for 2024.

Politico reports Trump has conducted polling in five swing states that he lost last year, including Georgia, in an effort to prep for a potential comeback bid three years from now.

The internal poll, which tests a rematch between Trump and President Joe Biden, shows Trump winning all five swing states, although Georgia was the narrowest among them, with a three-point spread that was within the poll’s four-point margin of error.


When Lin Wood was expelled by the private Lawyer’s Club earlier this year, Forbes magazine reported that the disgraced lawyer vowed to appeal the group’s decision, “claiming he doesn’t care about the ‘largely irrelevant’ organization but wants to defend his reputation.”

Wood did indeed appeal his expulsion from the respected Atlanta club, which decided to toss him after he called for the former Vice President Mike Pence to face a firing squad following his refusal to overturn the 2020 election results on Jan. 6th.

But according to an internal Lawyers’ Club email we’ve obtained, Wood abandoned his appeal earlier this month.

“To resolve this matter, today, the Executive Committee accepted Mr. Wood’s resignation in lieu of expulsion and the appeal is thereby moot.”


Fair Fight, the voter advocacy group founded by Stacey Abrams, released a slate of endorsements ahead of municipal runoffs across the state. But the organization continues to avoid weighing in on the Atlanta mayor’s race.

Among the candidates Fair Fight is backing:

  • Angelyne Butler, incumbent Forest Park Mayor;
  • Reggie Copeland, incumbent Marietta City Council member;
  • Vilnis Gaines, candidate for Albany City Commission;
  • Manfred Graeder, candidate for Duluth City Council;
  • Harold Proctor Jr, candidate for Sylvester Mayor.


U.S. Sen. Jon Ossoff is making stops in Columbus, Macon and Augusta today to meet with local officials and talk up the benefits of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill President Joe Biden signed into law last week.

U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop will join Ossoff at two of the three stops: the METRA transit system in Columbus, Amerson River Park in Macon and Columbus’s Fifth Street Bridge.

Ossoff’s office says all three projects will benefit from the infrastructure money.


POSTED: The Georgia Board of Regents has declined the recommendations of a specially formed panel to consider renaming dozens of buildings on its campuses.

More from the AJC’s Eric Sturgis:

The board's decision was criticized by several people who pressed in recent months for the changes, saying many buildings are named after slave owners and segregationists. One group that wanted the name of Henry W. Grady removed from the University of Georgia's journalism school, called the decision “not surprising."

- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Women have taken over a majority of the Clarkston City Council, along with many of the other top positions in the DeKalb County town: mayor, police chief and city manager. The AJC’s Zachery Hansen has more here.


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