Political roundup: Ga. redistricting targets Dem; S.C. takes pause

FILE - In this Wednesday, June 17, 2020, file photo, Rep. Lucy Kay McBath, D-Ga., speaks during...
FILE - In this Wednesday, June 17, 2020, file photo, Rep. Lucy Kay McBath, D-Ga., speaks during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 on Capitol Hill in Washington. An initial proposal to redraw Georgia's congressional districts appears to give Republicans a better chance of winning a suburban Atlanta congressional district now held by McBath. (Greg Nash/Pool Photo via AP, File)(Greg Nash | AP)
Published: Nov. 17, 2021 at 2:33 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 10:59 AM EST
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In Georgia

ATLANTA - A proposal likely to make Georgia’s congressional map more Republican has advanced toward a vote in the state’s General Assembly.

A state Senate committee voted 9-5 along party lines Thursday for a plan likely to shift Georgia’s 6th Congressional District from Democratic to Republican control.

That would bump the overall balance of Georgia’s 14 congressional districts from the current 8-6 Republican margin to a 9-5 GOP edge.

The full state Senate is likely to debate the map Friday.

It would then have to pass the House and be approved by Gov. Brian Kemp.

Democratic U.S. Rep Lucy McBath currently holds the 6th District seat in suburban parts of Atlanta.

The plan would push her into what would be a strongly Republican district.

The move makes it likely that Republicans would increase their current 8-6 edge in Georgia’s congressional seats to 9-5.

Democrats argue that a fair plan would build districts equally around each party’s voters, increasing the chances of a 7-7 delegation reflecting Georgia’s 50-50 partisan split in recent elections.

Lawmakers have been focusing on redrawing congressional maps after finishing their work on Legislature redistricting.

They must redraw electoral districts at least once every decade to equalize populations following the U.S. Census.

Georgia lawmakers on Nov. 3 began a special session to redraw congressional, state Senate and state House districts.

In South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The full South Carolina House of Representatives will return to Columbia in December to finish redistricting.

Speaker of the House Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, has called members to the State House for a special session on Dec. 1, 2 and 6, according to a memo the House clerk sent Wednesday to members and staff.

“The primary purpose of these meetings is to complete the redistricting processes of the House and Senate,” Clerk of the House Charles Reid wrote. “The House will continue to meet based upon the will of the House and until such time as business is completed.”

The announcement comes a day after the House Judiciary Committee approved a proposed map that establishes new boundaries for the 124-member House of Representatives, based on data from the 2020 U.S. Census. As of Wednesday afternoon, the amended map, which House members will take up during the special session, was not available for public viewing on the House redistricting webpage.

While the committee approved the map in a 21-2 vote, with two members abstaining, in less than an hour Tuesday, the proposal has drawn criticism. A House Redistricting Subcommittee meeting last week lasted more than four-and-a-half hours, as critics argued during a lengthy public comment period that the proposal protected incumbents too much, split too many counties into multiple House districts, and made too few districts competitive between parties.

The state Senate has not yet set a date for the full chamber to reconvene, as the Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet voted on its proposed map.

Also in the news ...

FINAL FAREWELL: Funeral services have been scheduled later this week South Carolina’s oldest and most powerful state lawmaker. State Sen. Hugh Leatherman died last Friday at 90. His office announced his funeral will be held this Friday at 3 p.m. at the Francis Marion Performing Arts Center in Florence. Leatherman’s family will host a reception immediately after the service on the grounds of the performing arts center.

VACCINE MANDATE: U.S. Rep. Rick Allen, R-Augusta, joined all 50 Republican senators and more than 160 House members in introducing a Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for private workplaces. “Top-down government mandates do not work – the decision to get a vaccine should be a personal choice between an individual and their doctor,” said Allen.

ATLANTA MAYOR: The two candidates running to be mayor of Atlanta are scrambling to differentiate themselves. City Council President Felicia Moore and Council Member Andre Dickens clashed Tuesday in an Atlanta Press Club debate. Dickens says Moore has too long played the role of critic and doesn’t have much to show for two decades on the council. Moore says that she’s been a brave watchdog with many achievements. Early in-person voting begins Wednesday.

COLUMBIA MAYOR: Daniel Rickenmann is Columbia’s mayor-elect after Tameika Isaac Devine conceded the election. A hand count audit took place Wednesday morning, according to Richland County election officials. The final tally showed he won with 10,554 votes to Isaac Devine’s 9,762. This comes after widespread reports of polling issues in Columbia.

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