U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath defeated U.S. Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Donna McLeod in the May 24 Democratic primary in Georgia’s 7th Congressional District near Atlanta. McBath received 63% of the vote, Bourdeaux was second with 31%, and McLeod was third with 6%.
Bourdeaux and McBath—who led in fundraising and media mentions—were members of the U.S. House of Representatives facing each other due to redistricting. As of May 2022, six U.S. House races had two incumbents running for the same congressional district in the 2022 elections.
Bourdeaux is the fourth member of the U.S. House, and first Democrat, to lose a primary this cycle.
Emily Wilkins wrote in Bloomberg Government that “The area’s influx of mostly non-White voters over the past decade helped Rep. Lucy McBath flip a Republican-held district in the northern suburbs in 2018 and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux do the same with a neighboring district to the east two years later…The Republican-controlled legislature redrew the two swing congressional districts, creating instead districts that are solidly red and blue, and ensuring Democrats will have one fewer seat in the delegation after the 2022 midterms.” Data compiled by Bloomberg Government determined that Bourdeaux represented 57% of the residents in the new 7th District and McBath represented 12%.
Wilkins wrote that “The congresswomen have near-identical voting records. In the 117th Congress, both have largely kept to the party line—96% for Bourdeaux and 97% for McBath, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis.”
Garbus wrote in Atlanta magazine that “While both candidates are thoroughgoing Democrats, McBath is further to the left than Bourdeaux, whose centrist stance has alienated some progressives.”
McBath defeated incumbent Karen Handel (R) in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District in 2018, 50.5% to 49.5%. She won the rematch against Handel in 2020, 55% to 45%. Rachel Garbus wrote in Atlanta magazine, “Gun safety and reform has always been McBath’s key platform; her son was a victim of gun violence in 2012, and his death inspired her political career.”
At a recent debate, McBath said, “I’m running in this race because I simply believe that we should not allow Gov. Kemp, the Republican Party or the NRA gun lobby to dictate who represents our communities in Washington.”
Bourdeaux defeated Rich McCormick (R), 51% to 49%, to win an open-seat race in the 7th District in 2020 after she lost to then-incumbent Rob Woodall (R) in 2018 by 433 votes. That margin was the closest U.S. House election in 2018 by number of votes. Bourdeaux highlighted her work for the constituents of the district, saying on her website, “Since being sworn in January of 2021, Congresswoman Bourdeaux has been a leading advocate in Congress for health care, voting rights, racial and social justice, small business, infrastructure, and critical issues of broad importance to Gwinnett County and the 7th district community.”
McBath was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), and the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund. Bourdeaux received endorsements from former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young (D), former U.S. Sen Sam Nunn (D-Geo.) and four incumbent Georgia state representatives.
As of the primary, three race ratings outlets classified the November 8 general election as Solid or Safe Democratic.
- Congressional elections decided by 10 percent or less, 2018
- Redistricting in Georgia after the 2020 census