A dispute between U.S. Reps. Carolyn Bourdeaux and Lucy McBath over a fundraising email highlights the tensions that have arisen between the two women as the Democratic primary race for the 7th Congressional District continues to heat up.
McBath is currently the 6th Congressional District representative, but she opted to challenge Bourdeaux, who is the incumbent 7th Congressional District representative, rather than seek another term in the 6th District after Republicans redrew its boundaries to lean more toward the GOP this year. State Rep. Donna McLeod is also running for the 7th District seat.
The winner of the Democratic primary will face one of several Republicans running for the seat.
Bourdeaux and McBath sparred over the latter’s decision to jump into the 7th District race rather than staying in the 6th District during an Atlanta Press Club debate earlier this month. Bourdeaux has been running a clip from the debate regularly on social media, in which she accused McBath of conceding the 6th District to the GOP and the National Rifle Association.
That prompted McBath to respond by calling it a “false attack” in a fundraising email to her supporters this week.
“Black women are too often told to step aside and stand down, but I refuse to let this disingenuous attack go unanswered,” McBath said in the fundraising email. “To accuse me of letting the NRA ‘win’ is absurd.”
The 7th Congressional District’s Democratic Primary is a closely watched race in this year’s midterm elections between it has two sitting members of Congress — both of whom are Democrats — competing against each other. While Georgia’s majority-Republican legislature redrew McBath’s district to be more likely to elect Republicans than Democrats, the 7th District was in turn redrawn to lean more in favor of Democrats.
The Bourdeaux campaign is now fighting back against McBath’s fundraising email by offering up criticism of it and doubling down on Bourdeaux’s previous criticism of her fellow congresswoman.
“Let’s just be crystal clear, Congresswoman McBath is not fighting the NRA or Republicans in this race,” Bourdeaux campaign spokeswoman Titilayo Okuwa said in a statement. “She has abandoned her district and surrendered her seat to Republicans who support overturning Roe v. Wade and will vote with the NRA 100 percent of the time.
“Instead, she has chosen to fight a fellow pro-choice, pro-gun safety reform Democratic woman who — after years of work — was the only Democrat in the country to flip a seat in 2020. McBath’s choice undermines everything we as Democrats are fighting for and is making the Republican goal of taking over the U.S. House that much easier.”
The NRA criticism is a particularly pointed one since gun control and gun safety has been McBath’s signature issue that she has campaigned on since she she first ran for congress in the 2018 election cycle. McBath’s son, Jordan, was shot to death in 2012 at a convenience store because of a dispute over the sound volume of music playing in a car that her son was riding in.
“To accuse me of ceding anything to the NRA is an insult to not just the work I’ve done to end gun violence in America after my son Jordan was murdered, but to every single gun safety activist and advocate who had the courage to stand up and demand better,” McBath said in her fundraising email.
“For the last decade we have stood up for parents, for families, and for all the children lost too soon just like my son.”
Okuwa said the Bourdeaux campaign believe that McBath could have used the support she has from out-of-state billionaires to push back against Republicans in the 6th District and retain that seat. That seat, however, has been considered a safe pickup for Republicans because of the way it was redrawn during redistricting. It now stretches from east Cobb to Dawson County and includes the Republican-leaning Sugar Hill area in Gwinnett County.
Meanwhile, the new 7th Congressional District is made up of a small part of north Fulton, primarily around Johns Creek, and the southern half of Gwinnett County, including Peachtree Corners, Norcross, Duluth, Lawrenceville, Lilburn, Snellville, Grayson and Dacula.
Bourdeaux’s campaign is also criticizing McBath for not participating in a candidate forum hosted by the Gwinnett NAACP earlier this month to highlight the Democrats running in the 7th District.
“The truth is that Congresswoman McBath is attempting to distract from the fact that she has made little to no effort to spend time in the 7th district and is relying on outside special interest groups to carry her to victory,” Okuwa said.
McBath did hold a tele-town hall with 7th District voters on Thursday night, however. Her campaign said about 6,000 voters participated in the call-in town hall where they got to ask McBath questions about where she stands on issues.
For now, the McBath campaign is responding to the Bourdeaux campaign’s criticism of the fundraising email by saying it feels the e-mail speaks for itself.
“I honestly expected better from a fellow Democrat, but with our primary being called ‘competitive’ by the media, I guess she is looking for any edge she can get,” McBath said in the email.