A Georgia special session to redraw congressional and legislative voting district maps ended Thursday with the final passage in the Georgia State House, sending the GOP-drawn maps to GOP Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature.
The wrangling is unlikely to end there, with those who brought the challenges that overturned the current maps likely to argue in court Georgia's Republican-controlled General Assembly has violated the federal court order that directed them to produce new maps.
The House Reapportionment and Redistricting Committee, with little debate, voted 9-4 on Wednesday to send the congressional map to the full House for a vote. The plan, which passed the state Senate 33-22 on Tuesday, seeks a wholesale reconfiguration of a suburban Atlanta district now represented by Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga.
Lawmakers were called into special session after U.S. District Judge Steve Jones ruled in October that Georgia's congressional, state Senate and state House maps violate federal law by diluting Black voting power. Jones mandated Black majorities in one additional congressional district, two additional state Senate districts and five additional state House districts. Jones instructed lawmakers to create the new congressional district on metro Atlanta's western side.
Republicans have already given final passage to a new state Senate map likely to retain Republicans' current 33-23 majority in that chamber, and a new House map that could cut the GOP majority there by one or two seats from the current 102-78 margin.
Republicans say the plans meet Jones' requirements to draw more majority-Black districts.
The committee rejected a Democrat proposal that would have likely cut the Republican congressional margin by one seat to 8-6, by forcing Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., to run against either Rep. Rich McCormick, R-Ga., or Rep. Mike Collins, R-Ga.
Democrats object to Republicans' authority on drawing the map.
"They're still looking for power and not progress in the state of Georgia," House Minority Leader James Beverly, D-Macon, told The Associated Press.
The GOP congressional map creates a new majority-Black district in parts of Fulton, Douglas, Cobb, and Fayette counties on Atlanta's west side. But instead of targeting a Republican, it shifts McBath's current district into a district tailored for McCormick, stretching from Atlanta's northern suburbs into its heavily Republican northern mountains.
It is the second time in two years Republicans have targeted McBath, a gun control activist. McBath, who is Black, initially won election in a majority-white district in Atlanta's northern suburbs. Georgia Republicans in 2021 took that district, once represented by Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and drew it into much more Republican territory. At the same time, they made another district more Democratic. McBath jumped into that district and beat Democratic incumbent Carolyn Bordeaux in a 2022 primary.
Jones could provide answers to whether he will accept Republican plans in short order. On Wednesday, saying "time is of the essence in this matter," he set a Dec. 20 hearing to consider the legislative maps. If Jones rejects any or all of them, he is likely to appoint a special master to draw maps on behalf of the court.
Newsmax writer Eric Mack contributed to this report.
Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.