Who gets to vote in 6th District? Politicians already decided

In 1995, Newt Gingrich was speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives when he spoke to a joint session of the Georgia General Assembly. Zell Miller, then the lieutenant governor and later governor and U.S. senator, and then-House Speaker Tom Murphy listened. Four years earlier, Murphy used a redistricting plan in an effort to oust Gingrich. (AJC file)

Who gets to vote and who doesn’t in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District is more than an accident of geography. It’s also the result of decades of political shenanigans by Democrats and Republicans alike.

State legislators have dramatically redrawn the 6th District’s boundaries to gain political advantage, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found.

For decades, the district covered several counties west and southwest of Atlanta, all the way to the Alabama line. It never elected a Republican until 1978, when Newt Gingrich was elected to an open seat.

But in 1991, Democrats tried to draw Gingrich out of his own district. They gave the 6th an entirely new footprint, centered on Cobb County.

In later redistricting efforts, lawmakers shifted the 6th farther east and north. It now covers some of the region’s wealthiest, best-educated suburbs – areas that almost always voted Republicans.

But the demographics – and the voting – are changing, political scientists said. The winner on June 20 – Democrat Jon Ossoff or Republican Karen Handel – could indicate big changes in Georgia’s electoral future.


Full story: Redistricting gives GOP key to political power

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