Time for an update from the experts at Swing State Project:
Georgia is gaining one seat, from 13 to 14, and with that in mind, its new target is 691,975 (up from 630K in 2000). Pretty much all decade, those in the know have been expecting Georgia’s 14th seat to fall in Atlanta’s northern tier of suburbs, where the state’s fastest growth has been in distant exurban (and virulently red) counties like Cherokee and Forsyth. The new data basically confirms that, with the heaviest gains in suburban/exurban GA-07 (worth noting: Newt Gingrich’s old stomping grounds, Gwinnett County, is now the state’s 2nd largest county, having shot past Cobb and DeKalb Counties) and GA-09.
Perhaps most surprising is the deep deficit in GA-02, the VRA district in the state’s rural South; there had been discussion of it reaching up to take in central Macon in order to make GA-08 safer for its new Republican occupant Austin Scott, and that seems even likelier now, given that may be the only way for it to retain an African-American majority. The two VRA districts in Atlanta will also need to expand outward, but third black-majority seat in the ATL area, the suburban 13th, has plenty of population to spare.
District Rep. Population Deviation GA-01 Kingston (R) 722,068 30,093 GA-02 Bishop (D) 631,973 (60,002) GA-03 Westmoreland (R) 817,247 125,272 GA-04 Johnson (D) 665,541 (26,434) GA-05 Lewis (D) 630,462 (61,513) GA-06 Price (R) 767,798 75,823 GA-07 Woodall (R) 903,191 211,216 GA-08 Scott (R) 715,599 23,624 GA-09 Graves (R) 823,583 131,608 GA-10 Broun (R) 738,248 46,273 GA-11 Gingrey (R) 794,969 102,994 GA-12 Barrow (D) 692,529 554 GA-13 Scott (D) 784,445 92,470 Total: 9,687,653
A couple of points worth highlighting: The target population (ie total pop/# of districts) is just over 691,000 and the third column shows how much over (or, in red under) this target a particular VTD is currently.
Second, this piece identifies several VRA districts, basically ones that will have to remain minority under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There’s a concept here that is useful: “retrogression” where gains made by minorities are not supposed to be rolled back. If that is the case here (and I wasn’t involved in this last time around) then the only real change we could expect to see is the insertion of the new 14th CD somewhere in Atlanta’s northern suburbs (where the growth is). As everybody knows, this is likely a GOP district.
So GA’s 14 CDs will be 5-9 Dem-Repub.