A few thoughts on the proposed congressional maps for Georgia released Monday:
Obviously, the two big moves are U.S. Rep. John Barrow, a Democrat, being drawn out of Chatham County and into a more Republican-leaning district; and the new 14th district being in Northwest Georgia, leaving an empty seat in Gov. Nathan Deal’s native Hall County. The empty seat also covers the homes of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Speaker David Ralston. Neither of them is expected to run for it, but their presence should make next year’s campaign — especially the endorsements and fund raising — very interesting.
Barrow may draw a challenge from Senate Pro Tem Tommie Williams. If so, that would leave two of the three men who have been wrestling for control of the state Senate (Cagle and Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers). If that ends some of that chamber’s dysfunction, that’s all for the better. Two members of the state House, Ben Harbin and Lee Anderson, told my AJC colleagues that they’re considering a run, too.
Besides that, there’s the splitting of Atlanta into two districts. Democrat John Lewis, who currently represents the entire city, is complaining about that. I tend to agree with the logic that the city is better served by having bipartisan representation.
Otherwise, the changes around metro Atlanta and the rest of the state are pretty limited.
Freshman Congressman Austin Scott now has a more solidly Republican district, trading much of Bibb County for Lowndes (with Moody Air Force Base) and Thomas. Sanford Bishop, who was nearly unseated last November, ends up with a more Democratic district as a result.
U.S. Rep. Tom Graves loses a base of support in Forsyth County as his district becomes a more cohesive Northwest Georgia district opposite a Northeast Georgia one — rather than the current, less logical, carving of the northern third of the state.
In all the maps make some modest improvements on the cohesiveness of the districts:
– By Kyle Wingfield