McBath ousts Bourdeaux in Georgia primary

Democrats faced off after GOP map made McBath's district redder

Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath won the nomination for a third term by defeating a fellow Democrat, Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath won the nomination for a third term by defeating a fellow Democrat, Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted May 24, 2022 at 10:07pm

Georgia Rep. Lucy McBath beat fellow Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux on Tuesday in the primary in Georgia’s 7th District, a race that pitted two Democratic stars against each other after redistricting slashed Democrats’ control over the Atlanta suburbs.

McBath had 63 percent of the vote to Bourdeaux’s 31 percent when the AP called the race at 10 p.m. State Rep. Donna McLeod had 6 percent.

Bourdeaux is the first Democratic incumbent to lose a primary this year, following losses by Republicans Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina last week and David McKinley of West Virginia the week before that.

McBath switched districts to avoid running again in the neighboring 6th District, which was redrawn to favor Republicans. The decision forced Democrats to take sides. Both McBath and Bourdeaux had flipped their current districts in high-profile elections in 2018 and 2020, respectively, with the support of House progressives. But Bourdeaux joined the centrist Blue Dog Coalition and McBath, a gun control advocate whose son was murdered at a gas station in 2012, is now seen as the more progressive of the two.

Bourdeaux, a public policy expert, also angered some progressive groups last summer when she joined a group of centrist Democrats who threatened to derail President Joe Biden’s social spending and climate change package unless the House voted first on the bipartisan infrastructure bill that had already been passed by the Senate. That gambit was one of several roadblocks that ultimately led to the unraveling of Democrats’ hopes of ushering in a new era of government spending that they had hoped to make a centerpiece of their 2022 midterm campaigns.

McBath’s supporters included Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Congressional Black Caucus’ political arm, CBCPAC. She also had backing from the pro-Israel groups Democratic Majority for Israel and AIPAC, both of which have spent heavily against progressives in other Democratic primaries this cycle. A super PAC backed by gun control advocate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Independence USA, spent $1 million, starting last week, for TV ads backing McBath. And Protect Our Future, a super PAC backed by cryptocurrency billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried, spent $2 million worth of ads praising her.

Georgia Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux flipped a Republican seat in 2020 but was beaten in Tuesday’s primary by Rep. Lucy McBath, who switched districts to challenge Bourdeaux. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

McBath also outpaced Bourdeaux in fundraising for her own campaign, pulling in $4.3 million to Bourdeaux’s $3.1 million. Bordeaux argued that she was better positioned to represent the new district because it contains much of the area she currently represents. She also lashed out at Democrats who had benefited from cryptocurrency PACs that have pledged to spend tens of millions of dollars, saying the money could help curry favor with lawmakers tasked with regulating the fledgling industry.

The newly drawn 7th District would have voted for Biden by 26 points in 2020, and the race for the seat in November is rated Solid Democratic by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.