The Jolt: Redistricting scrambles Democrats’ plans for 2022

News and analysis from the politics team at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
03/31/2021 —Atlanta, Georgia — Rep. Josh McLaurin (D-Sandy Springs) passionately objects SB 174 in the House Chambers during Sine Die, legislative day 40, at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Wednesday, March 31, 2021. SB 174 passed the House Chambers. (Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

Credit: Alyssa Pointer /

03/31/2021 —Atlanta, Georgia — Rep. Josh McLaurin (D-Sandy Springs) passionately objects SB 174 in the House Chambers during Sine Die, legislative day 40, at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta, Wednesday, March 31, 2021. SB 174 passed the House Chambers. (Alyssa Pointer /

Just three years ago, about a dozen Democrats across the Atlanta suburbs flipped seats previously held by Republicans in what several of the newcomers termed a “blue tsunami.”

Now changing political tides are having a different sort of ripple effect.

At least five members of that ascendant Democratic class are leaving the state House. Several more face tough elections.

It’s a reflection of a convergence of political dynamics. Redistricting is making some of the suburban legislative seats harder for the incumbents to hold, while opening opportunities in the state Senate for some.

Fatigue and frustration could factor, too. Several Democrats have told us the special session has reinforced the reality that the GOP will control the chamber well into the next decade.

Meanwhile, ambitious Democrats need look no further than the statewide Democratic victories of the last election cycle for proof that they, too, could potentially compete on a grander scale.

Of the class of 2018, Erick Allen is a candidate for lieutenant governor and Matt Wilson is running for insurance commissioner. Josh McLaurin and Beth Moore are competing for two newly-created state Senate seats.

And Angelika Kausche of Johns Creek has opted not to stand for another term.

Three years ago, Kausche, a retired professor, captured a district that no Democrat bothered to even contest in 2016. Now she’s citing the “rigorous demands of the Capitol” and the global pandemic in her decision.

Kausche’s district was redrawn to narrowly favor a Democrat, at least judging by the last election.

But several Democratic veterans say they’re taking the 2020 figures with a grain of salt ahead of a tough midterm election. One told us he’s adding four points in the GOP column to every matchup in the suburbs to account for a tougher 2022 environment for Democratic candidates.

(Other more veteran Democratic legislators are skedaddling, too, including state Rep. William Boddie, who is running for labor commissioner.)


UNDER THE GOLD DOME, Monday, Nov. 22:

10:00 a.m.- The House gavels in for an expected vote on final congressional maps.


A long list of corporate titans and civic leaders is lining up to sponsor a fundraiser for the Committee for a United Atlanta, the group created to fight the effort to create a Buckhead City and, like the name says, keep Atlanta united.

The backers include Home Depot billionaire Arthur Blank, real estate mogul Larry Gellerstedt, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, Metro Atlanta Chamber chief Katie Kirkpatrick, developer Egbert Perry, UPS head honcho Carol Tome, and Morehouse School of Medicine president, Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice.

Other names on the list represent some of Atlanta’s most storied families, including the Seydel and Selig clans. The fundraiser will be held on Dec. 8 for a suggested donation of $1,000 per person.

The location is … Buckhead, of course.


The biggest challenge for the Republicans running against U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (who are not Herschel Walker) is getting voters’ attention long enough to tell them who they are.

Today Kelvin King is up with his latest ad about being born in Macon to a 15-year-old single mom to graduating from the Air Force Academy and having a successful post-military career.

“To be honest with you, I don’t think my story would have been the same in Biden’s America.”


In endorsement news, U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux picked up a nod from Ambassador Andrew Young over the weekend for her reelection in the 7th Congressional District. The timing is crucial for Bourdeaux, since it has become clear that other Democrats, including U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, could challenge her in next year’s Democratic primary.

And in the upcoming Atlanta mayor’s race runoff, Mayor Kesiha Lance Bottoms threw her support behind city councilman Andre Dickens on Friday.

She wrote on Twitter that she has worked closely with both Dickens and “his opponent,” namely City Council President Felicia Moore. “Andre has an extraordinary ability to inspire and bring our city together.”

Perhaps in response, Moore posted endorsements from less well-known Atlantans with the message, “Real people. Real Atlanta voices - ready for Moore.”


Another mayoral runoff is happening on the coast in Brunswick, where Cosby Johnson and Ivan Figueroa finished as the top two of eight candidates for the open seat atop City Hall.

The Brunswick News asked both Johnson and Figueroa how they’d solve the city’s ongoing challenges.

But the biggest news in Brunswick today will be at the courthouse, where closing arguments are expected in the trial for the three men charged with killing Ahmaud Arbery.

The AJC has continuing coverage from Brunswick.


A relatively new term surfaced at this weekend’s Republican Governors Association meeting in Phoenix: “Trump cancel culture.”

As in, the former president’s efforts to nix sitting GOP candidates like Gov. Brian Kemp.

Reports out of the meeting indicate that Kemp’s potential primary tussle with former U.S. Sen. David Perdue was a hot topic of conversation during the weekend meeting. The RGA has pledged to support Kemp if Perdue runs.

The New York Times has more on the topic:

In a private meeting of the Republican Governors Association's executive committee, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland brought up Mr. Trump's campaign of retribution against incumbent Republicans he dislikes — an effort that appears to be escalating, as the former president pushes former Senator David Perdue of Georgia to challenge Gov. Brian Kemp.

“It's outrageous, unacceptable and bad for the party," Mr. Hogan said in an interview about the former president's intervention, which he termed “Trump cancel culture." And it's happening, he added, “with House members, governors and senators."

- The New York Times

In another private meeting, former Vice President Mike Pence gave another notable speech. While he didn’t directly attack Trump, he seemed to throw him some shade when he said the RGA should “always support” incumbents.

From Politico:

It's a statement that would have gone unnoticed in prior years, but RGA officials say the 2022 midterms are unprecedented because of Trump's efforts to encourage a primary challenge against Kemp in Georgia and his decision to endorse Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice K. McGeachin over Republican Gov. Brad Little.

- Politico


U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams is hosting a virtual roundtable about the Georgia-related spending expected in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden recently signed into law.

She will be joined by Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, and Michael Alexander, senior director at the Center for Livable Communities.

The roundtable will stream on Williams’ Facebook page at 9:20 a.m.


POSTED: We’ve got a Georgia-focused recap of the U.S. House vote on Friday to pass the $1.9 trillion Build Back Better bill to the Senate.

All six Georgia Democrats supported the bill, including U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, who was once among a group of moderates who worked to slow passage of the measure over concerns about its original $3.5 trillion price tag.

Congress is out this week for Thanksgiving break. Even when the U.S. Senate returns next week, don’t expect a speedy vote on that far-ranging legislation.


The AJC has written extensively about the potential Rivian car plant headed to rural Georgia. Northwest Georgia News has the dirt from Rutledge, the rural Georgia community where the plant could be headed.

“It’s the worst kept secret in Rutledge,” said Mayor Bruce Altznauer, detailing the exits off of 1-20 where rumors have the plant going. Another Rutledge resident would not say if his family had sold property to Rivian for the factory, but his reason holds a clue.

“I cannot comment. I am under an NDA,” he said.


As always, Jolt readers are some of our favorite tipsters. Send your best scoop, gossip and insider info to, and

Sign Up to receive the Morning Jolt & AJC Politics newsletters in your inbox.