Republicans in the Georgia legislature finally unveiled a joint redistricting map that would drastically alter Atlanta’s northern suburbs to create another likely Republican seat — for now.

This story also appeared in Georgia Public Broadcasting

According to an analysis of the proposal released at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning ahead of redistricting committee meetings that begin at 1:30 p.m., Democrat Lucy McBath’s suburban Atlanta district morphs into a solidly Republican seat that stretches from Marietta and Sandy Springs all the way to Dawson County.

In 2018, McBath flipped the 6th Congressional District, once held by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and has been a top target for Republicans. 

After McBath won by nine points in the 2020 election, the potential new district features an environment that voted for former President Donald Trump by about 15 points. An analysis of the district lines show the dramatic shift comes from adding in conservative strongholds of Forsyth County, Republican parts of Cherokee and Gwinnett County and Dawson County.

“Georgia Republicans, the NRA, and the Republican Party have made eliminating Lucy McBath from Congress their top priority, and they are attempting to do so in a remarkably undemocratic process,” McBath campaign manager Jake Orvis said in a statement. “GA 6 had to change the least of any district in the entire state. It is disappointing to see Republicans in the state legislature attempt to suppress the hundreds of thousands of voters represented by Rep. McBath.”

The other large change is to the Gwinnett County-based 7th District currently held by Carolyn Bourdeaux, the only Democrat to flip a House seat in 2020. The 7th would become a very safely Democratic district that includes Johns Creek and much of Gwinnett County. Bourdeaux is technically drawn out of this district, but U.S. representatives are not required to live in the district they represent.

The new lines could pit McBath and Bourdeaux against each other in a bitter primary battle, should McBath opt to not keep her current seat in the 6th and attempt to run for the 7th instead.

Republican changes to the 2nd District in Southwest Georgia could also draw further scrutiny and a potential lawsuit, after Rep. Sanford Bishop’s seat appears set to go from being majority-Black to just over 49% Black by adding in Republican-leaning precincts in Muscogee County, all of Thomas County and a mixture of voters in north Houston County while jettisoning Crisp County.

Most Cobb County voters will want to pay attention to the proposals, as the new lines will likely add another representative to the mix: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, whose Northwest Georgia District 14 expands to include Democratic areas of Powder Springs and Austell.

First District representation would lose voters from parts of Lowndes County and all of Clinch and Echols counties. Earlier version placed Effingham in the 12th District, but the newest one keeps it split between the First and 12th districts. The First District, which added citizens over the decade and is represented by Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter, has one of the country’s fastest growing counties, Bryan, and one of the state’s fastest growing cities, Pooler.

The 10th District, which will have a new representative following Rep. Jody Hice’s run for secretary of state, moves northward to include all of Athens-Clarke County and other surrounding areas, while the 9th Congressional District dips into Gwinnett County.

Georgia’s population has grown by more than a million residents over the last decade, predominantly through nonwhite voters moving into metro Atlanta. While the maps that are drawn are designed to last the entire decade, Georgia’s demographic and political shifts could make some of the current Republican-held seats more vulnerable to competitive races later this decade.

Public comment on the maps begins Wednesday afternoon. 

This story comes to The Current through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a non-profit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.

Stephen Fowler/GPB News

Stephen Fowler is political reporter for Georgia Public Broadcasting.