A reliable contact has just sent us this draft of new congressional lines now moving among influential Republicans in Georgia – the first detailed look we’ve seen:
Nonetheless, we’re being assured that these lines are being passed around as a starting point for a special session of the Legislature that begins Aug. 15. At a glance:
– In the 12th District, U.S. Rep. John Barrow, the last white Democrat from the Deep South, would be pushed out of his residence in Savannah. Previously, Republicans targeted him by forcing Barrow to move from his original base in Athens. Under this map, Augusta would become Barrow’s third home. If he survives a 2012 vote.
– The new, Republican-dominated 14th District would stretch from Hall County, home to both Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, northeast to Rabun Gap – and eastward into the middle of Cherokee County.
– In the 8th District, U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, would pick up the Republican-dominated Valdosta area from U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Savannah, protecting Scott from a first-term challenge. But Scott wouldn’t pick up Thomasville, as some had said he would.
– In the 2nd District, U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, would be strengthened by moving into the Bibb County area – a Democratic-leaning region might have served as a base for a challenge to Austin Scott.
– U.S. Rep. John Lewis’s 5th District would be pushed deep into DeKalb County, nearly to Dunwoody, and U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson’s 4th District, which has been dominated by DeKalb, would move further east into Rockdale and Newton counties, whose African-American populations have exploded.
One Capitol voice we talked to, who is familiar with the map and is close to the redistricting process, said it largely reflects current thought among Republicans — especially when it comes to south Georgia. But expect some tweaking, especially in metro Atlanta. As drawn, the lines for the 7th District, now occupied by Republican Rob Woodall, wouldn’t hold up over 10 years. Population shifts would nearly guarantee that the district would wind up in Democratic hands by 2021.
That’s just a quick assessment. Additional observations would be welcome.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider