A competitive primary for a Georgia House seat has locked two Democratic members of Congress – Lucy McBath and Carolyn Bourdeaux – in a tough fight for reelection.
The matchup comes after Georgia’s Republican-controlled state legislature redrew congressional maps. Now, two Democrats viewed by many in the party as rising stars with promising political futures are facing off in a contentious race.
The Democratic primary will take place on Tuesday for Georgia’s newly redrawn 7th Congressional District.
“This is a race to watch,” Emory University political scientist Andra Gillespie said in an interview. “I think it’s going to be competitive. … We expect that the race is going to be close, and, by close, we anticipate single digit margins.”
“These are two known, incumbent candidates who hold office so we expect that they are going to hold their own against each other.”
Adding to the competition: Georgia State Rep. Donna McLeod is also running in the Democratic primary.
“I think the question is, is McLeod going to be enough of a spoiler to force a runoff?” Gillespie asked.
McBath and Bourdeaux both made a name for themselves in Georgia by flipping a House seat from red to blue to win election to Congress.
McBath was elected in 2018 to represent the state’s 6th District, which had previously been held by Republican Karen Handel. Bourdeaux won an election in 2020 in the 7th District and succeeded Republican Rob Woodall in the seat.
The two Democrats are now in a showdown after the GOP legislators redrew the 6th District to favor Republicans. Whichever Democrat wins the primary for the new 7th District will likely win the general election for the seat in November.
“In the redistricting, what the lawmakers decided to do was to draw Democrats out of the 6th District and put them in the 7th District,” Gillespie said. “So the 7th became more Democratic and the 6th became more competitive for Republicans to be able to get the seat back.”
“This is clearly not something Democrats would be happy about, but when you have partisan redistricting, the spoils go to the party that controls the most seats in the state legislature so I think this is something that Democrats were braced for,” Gillespie said.
The new 7th District is located in the northeast Atlanta suburbs and is majority minority.
Much of the district is in Gwinnett County and a portion is in nearby Fulton County.
McBath already has a prominent national profile. She tragically lost her son to gun violence when he was 17 years old and she served as a national spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America prior to serving in Congress. Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund endorsed McBath in January and described her as a tireless champion for gun violence prevention in Congress.
Prior to serving in Congress, Bourdeaux was a Georgia State University professor. She also previously served as director of Georgia’s Senate Budget and Evaluation Office and was once an aide to Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the current chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
So far, McBath has raised $4.3 million for the race, according to the latest data from the Federal Election Commission, while Bourdeaux has raised $3.1 million.
CNN’s Alex Rogers contributed to this report.