Congressmen Lucy McBath (D-Ga.) and Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) heralded a seismic shift in Georgian politics when they flipped neighboring Republican districts in suburban Atlanta in 2018 and 2020.
- Now they face each other on the home stretch of a primary battle over the redesigned 7th congressional district.
Catch up fast: The showdown comes after Republicans who control the once-a-decade redistricting in the state moved McBath’s 6th District to the right, cutting off his re-election prospects there. Bourdeaux represents the existing 7th arrondissement – of which around two-thirds remain in the new lines.
- McBath tells Axios that she changed districts because she won’t let Republicans “dictate who represents our communities in Congress.”
- “I got into this to run against the Republicans and to try to defend the country against Trump,” Bourdeaux told Axios. “I would prefer not to do this type of racing in particular.”
The context: Georgia’s 7th is one of the incumbent’s five matchups in 2022. State Rep. Donna McLeod is also in the primary — the only candidate to live within her new confines.
The plot: Some characterize this race as emblematic of the battle between the moderate and progressive wings of the Democratic Party. McBath targeted Bourdeaux for voting in previous Republican primaries in a recent debate.
- Bourdeaux joined a group of centrist members who lobbied Democratic leaders to pass the infrastructure package before voting on a budget resolution last year.
- McBath tells Axios that she is proud of her “unwavering support for President Biden’s agenda. I never hesitated. I never tried to oppose or hinder it.
Yes, but: Emory political scientist Andra Gillespie said their voting records aren’t that far apart, despite their different marks. “No one will call Lucy McBath a member of the ‘Squad’.”
What they say : Bourdeaux cites the popular support she has built over five years of campaigning. “I’m very pragmatic and I’m very grounded in this community,” she tells Axios. (Bourdeaux won the seat in 2020 after narrowly losing in 2018.)
- McBath countered that the problems of the new 7th “are no different from the problems that concern people in the existing 6th. The problems people have, the concerns they have, the things that keep them up at night, are no different.
To note : The new 7th District is majority minority, which could give McBath an edge, Gillespie said. “Bourdeaux brings a starting advantage to the table…but at the same time, demographically, the neighborhood looks more like McBath than Bourdeaux.”
The bottom line: Given Bourdeaux’s ties to the community and McBath’s name ID, he’s a tough choice for Democratic voters. There has been no independent poll on the race and neither side has released internal figures.
- Troy Ciers, who attended a fundraiser in Bourdeaux, tells Axios he’s undecided after learning about McBath’s challenge: “I love them both. I am taken. I hate to think we should lose one.
- Georgia State Representative Sam Park does not endorse the race. As he tells Axios, “I certainly share the sentiment of voters in the 7th congressional district, myself being one of them, that this is a very difficult choice to make.”