Sanford Bishop wins reelection in Georgia’s only toss-up congressional district

Georgia’s longest-serving member of the U.S. House, Rep. Sanford Bishop, has won re-election in Georgia’s only toss-up congressional district.

The Associated Press has called the race for Bishop, a Democrat, over Republican challenger Chris West.

Bishop was first elected to Congress in 1992, and this was the Albany Democrat’s toughest re-election campaign in years.

Bishop’s closing argument to voters focused on the decades he spent gaining the seniority, experience and bipartisan support that he said made him best positioned to deliver for his constituents another two years. He is also the only Georgia lawmaker to serve on the Appropriations Committee in either chamber.

“Thank you for trusting me to serve YOU again,” Bishop said in a statement. “I look forward to serving another term and the opportunity to continue fighting for my district and delivering for the people of Middle and Southwest Georgia. Now it’s time to get to work to make sure we build on the progress we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”

With inflation high and President Joe Biden’s popularity low, Republicans are widely expected to retake the U.S. House and the competition for control of the U.S. Senate remains a tossup. Republicans had hoped a strong turnout of conservatives on Election Day with Gov. Brian Kemp leading the ticket would push West across the finish line.

Republicans who control the General Assembly made reelection even tougher for Bishop by drawing the district in a way that made it less solidly Democratic. Just over half of its voters supported Democrats in 2020, and just under half of all voters are Black.

But Bishop’s support, especially in cities like Columbus, proved insurmountable.

Bishop also raised three times as much money as West, and the Democratic Party has also spent money on ads and resources to help boost his profile.

The Republican Party did not spend any money to assist West. Both the party’s campaign arm for U.S. House races and a political committee controlled by GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy stayed out of the race, focusing spending instead on other toss-up districts across the country.