ATLANTA — Part of the heavily Democratic 4th Congressional District in Newton is moving into the 10th District and likely giving most county residents a Republican congressman after the 2022 elections.
The General Assembly approved a new district map for Georgia Monday, Nov. 22, as part of its final act in redrawing state and congressional boundaries in accordance with new 2020 U.S. Census population data.
House and Senate Republicans released the map recently that moved north and southwest Newton County from the 4th Congressional District into the heavily Republican 10th Congressional District.
Most of the cities of Covington and Oxford and all of Porterdale will remain in the 4th District represented by U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Lithonia.
A slight majority of Newton voters have selected Democratic presidential candidates in every election since 2008. They also selected Democrats in all contested races for county-level positions in 2020 for the first time in years.
Janel Green, who is the Georgia Democratic Party's 4th Congressional District chair, said transfer of parts of Newton County to the 10th District was part of the effort to move reliably Democratic precincts from the 6th Congressional District to make it difficult for U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Roswell, to win re-election.
"It's too bad people in Newton County are being used as pawns in gerrymandering," Green said. "They've had confidence in Congressman Johnson for 10 years and they're going to lose that."
Green said she was a "big fan" of drawing districts that better reflect the current demographic and political makeup of Metro Atlanta and Georgia following Democratic 2020 election victories that showed the state's voters were basically split between the two parties.
The new map brings most of Newton County's geographic area into the 10th District represented by U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Greensboro.
Hice is challenging Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the 2022 Republican primary. At least 13 Republicans and two Democrats are seeking to succeed Hice in the congressional seat representing parts of east central and Northeast Georgia, though the district was drawn to include heavily Republican areas.
Last week, lawmakers passed new state House and Senate maps amid protests from Democrats that the maps were drawn in secret and without enough time for public comment.
House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said that House and Senate Republicans “released a proposed map that reflects Georgia’s growing, diverse population, respects jurisdictional lines and communities of interest, and conforms to applicable legal standards including the Voting Rights Act.”
“Unlike the unconstitutional maps drawn by a Democratic majority in 2001, we have sought to plan for Georgia’s future rather than cling to its past. And we have done so in a manner that has been thorough, transparent and inclusive.
"That process has already included 11 hearings, more than 20 hours of public testimony and an online portal that has received more than 1,000 comments."
Republican lawmakers' Congressional map made McBath’s 6th Congressional District in north Metro Atlanta less friendly to Democrats by drawing in more white voters, while U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux’s 7th District in Gwinnett County remained a minority-majority district.
McBath announced Monday she planned to run for the 7th District seat in 2022, which will pit her against Bourdeaux. Federal law allows congressional candidates to live outside the district they will be representing.
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop’s 2nd district also appears to have been drawn to include more white voters, which could make the southwest Georgia district more competitive for the GOP.
Capitol Beat News Service contributed to this report.