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Race Ratings: In Georgia, New Geography Won’t Hurt GOP

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. John Barrow’s district looks different under the new map. Barrow’s home is no longer in his district, and he lost some solidly Democratic areas.

There are few districts more Democratic than the new 5th, which includes much of urban Atlanta. And although Lewis faces a primary challenge, it seems highly unlikely that anyone will unseat the civil rights icon.

6th district
Incumbent: Tom Price (R)
4th term (Uncontested)
Rating: Safe Republican

Price’s new district is substantially different from the current 6th in geography, but he should have no trouble winning under the new lines, which include the northern portions of Cobb, Fulton and DeKalb counties.

7th district
Incumbent: Rob Woodall (R)
1st term (67 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

Woodall should cruise to his sophomore term in the House. The district’s new political slant will closely resemble its current one.

8th district
Incumbent: Austin Scott (R)
1st term (53 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

The redistricting process was good to Scott, who lost some of his more Democratic precincts to Bishop’s 2nd district and gained some GOP-leaning ones in return. He will run in a district that stretches from the Florida border to Monroe County and that would have voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with more than 65 percent in 2008.

9th district
New district
Rating: Safe Republican

Though the general election here looks to be among the most yawn-inducing races of the cycle, the GOP primary in this Hall County-anchored new district has all the makings of an exciting establishment-versus-outsider battle.

The early frontrunners are tea-party-affiliated talk-radio host Martha Zoller and state Rep. Doug Collins (R), who has early support from a good chunk of the Georgia Republican establishment. Zoller hired Joel McElhannon, a well-regarded GOP operative, as her general consultant. Collins brought on Chip Lake, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s former chief of staff, as his general consultant. Brian Miller, former Sen. Zell Miller’s (D) grandson, is managing the Collins campaign. Deal won’t endorse in the race, but many vendors who worked for his 2010 campaign have signed on with Collins.

Since the Republican nominee will certainly be the next Congressman — the district would have voted more than 76 percent for McCain in 2008 — all the candidates in the primary will be playing for keeps.

10th district
Incumbent: Paul Broun (R)
2nd full term (67 percent)
Rating: Safe Republican

There’s considerable buzz about Broun facing a primary challenge. He is gaining a substantial amount of new territory under the redrawn lines, but the doctor will probably diagnose and dispatch any GOP rivals without too many complications. Broun has one of the better grass-roots organizations in the state, and he has the support of some pretty important players.

“The governor is close personal friends with Congressman Broun and will endorse him if he faces a primary opponent,” Deal spokesman Brian Robinson told Roll Call.

The political contours of the new district remain quite favorable to the GOP, and Democrats acknowledge that there’s almost no chance this district will flip in 2012.

11th district
Incumbent: Phil Gingrey (R)
5th term (Uncontested)
Rating: Safe Republican

The newly drawn district will give Gingrey a few hundred thousand new constituents. He’ll get a fundraising boost from adding the wealthy and Republican-
leaning northern Atlanta area of Buckhead to his territory. Not that he needs a boost — he had $1.6 million in cash on hand on June 30. And he’ll be plenty safe — 66 percent of the new district’s voters would have voted for McCain.

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