County official Richardson says she'll challenge US Rep. McBath in Democratic primary in Georgia

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ATLANTA — Jerica Richardson, a county commissioner in suburban Atlanta, announced Tuesday that she will challenge U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath in the Democratic primary in May in a new congressional district on the west side of Atlanta.

Richardson, a Cobb County commissioner, had previously said she would run for Congress, but her decision had been uncertain after Georgia state lawmakers radically reconfigured McBath’s current district. McBath jumped to a new 6th Congressional District in Fulton, Cobb, Douglas and Fayette counties in which Richardson will also run.

The new district is majority Black, and Richardson and McBath are both Black. No other candidates have announced they’re running.

Richardson said in a statement Tuesday that she decided to run against McBath after a Georgia judge ruled Monday that Cobb County commissioners could not override lawmakers and redraw their own districts.

The Republican-majority Legislature passed maps that drew Richardson out of her commission district. Commissioners asserted in 2022 that they had home-rule authority to draw their own districts, but a judge rejected that claim. The county has said it will appeal the judge’s ruling to the state Supreme Court.

But in the meantime, Richardson said, she’s running for Congress.

“Too many voters feel they are being ignored,” Richardson said. “I decided to run to remind people just how powerful they really are, to restore hope, and help spread information that empowered members of my community.”

Running against McBath could be an uphill climb. The incumbent said last week that she’s already raised more than $1 million for her 2024 race.

“I refuse to let the GOP bully me out of Congress,” McBath said Friday. “The stakes are too high.”

Richardson, though, said that there’s no incumbent in the district and that most of the constituents will be voting for a different representative than they have now. Most of the district has been represented by U.S. Reps. David Scott or Nikema Williams, both Atlanta Democrats.

It will be the second election in a row that McBath has run in a new district. After the district she originally won was redrawn to favor Republicans, she jumped to her current 7th District, which includes parts of Gwinnett and Fulton counties. But in a December special session ordered by a federal judge, Republican lawmakers dissolved that district and created a new 7th District stretching north into the Georgia mountains. Republican U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick is running for that seat.

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