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With redistricting maps now law, Fayette delegation swings to GOP majority

It’s official: Fayette County’s legislative delegation in the Georgia House of Representatives will feature a majority Republican vote for the first time since Democrat Roy Barnes was governor, three governors ago.

That’s thanks to the new House and Senate district maps adopted by the legislature and signed last week by Gov. Nathan Deal.

Previously, Fayette’s delegation in the House had a Democratic majority between Rep. Virgil Fludd, who has a sizable chunk of northwest Fayette, and two other Democrats who had relatively small footprints here.

The House map will eliminate two Democratic districts that extended from Clayton County to take tiny chunks of Fayette County while creating a new 63rd district that has no incumbent.

In Fayette County, the new 63rd district encompasses the unincorporated Fayette area north and east of Fayetteville, along with nearly all of Fayetteville. The remainder of the district snakes northward in a sliver of unincorporated south Fulton County that runs up to College Park, and also to the southwest into the southern tip of Clayton County that rests between the Fayette and Henry county lines.

The wide-open 63rd district is not the only major political shift handed down by the new map. Fayette no longer will be associated with the districts currently represented by Democrats Roberta Abdul-Salaam and Darryl Jordan, both of Riverdale in Clayton County, but it would gain association with the 71st district held by Republican Rep. Billy Horne of Newnan.

Horne, along with Rep. Matt Ramsey of Peachtree City and Rep. John Yates of Griffin would make up a Republican majority of Fayette’s delegation to the Georgia House of Representatives.

Horne picks up a small portion of Peachtree City in the Wilksmoor Village area north of Ga. Highway 54 and west of Ga. Highway 74. The remainder of his 71st district encompasses nearly the entire eastern portion of Coweta County including Sharpsburg and part of Newnan.

In another change, Ramsey’s 72nd district loses the south side of Fayetteville and a tiny portion of the unincorporated county southeast of Fayetteville. In exchange, the 72nd extends into the southern tip of Fayette County and Brooks, along with a chunk of southeast Coweta County including all of Senoia and Haralson.

Likewise, Fayette will keep the 73rd district currently held by Rep. John Yates, who loses the southern tip of Fayette County and Brooks but will maintain nearly the entire unincorporated area southeast of Fayetteville, including Woolsey.

Democrat Rep. Virgil Fludd of Tyrone, currently of the 66th district, sees little change on the Fayette County side of his district, losing only his lone precinct inside Peachtree City.

Not much will change on the Senate side of things for Fayette County under the new map. Tyrone Republican Sen. Ronnie Chance’s 16th district would lose the Sandy Creek precinct in northwestern Fayette to Democrat Sen. Valencia Seay of Riverdale and her 34th district. In exchange Chance’s 16th adds the Spring Hill precinct in south Fayetteville.

The legislative maps have drawn significant criticism from the state Democratic Party, as Democrats in both chambers voted against the maps.

Democrats contend the maps had several flaws, including the “unfair and unconstitutional ... targeting of incumbents based on race.”

Democrats also accused Republicans of “using races as the predominant factor in drawing districts without a compelling justification.”

The Democrats did proffer maps that sought no additional seats for Democrats and also failed to diminish the Republican’s control of the House, Democratic party officials said.

The Democratic cries of unfairness echo those of Republicans 10 years ago when Gov. Barnes and a Democrat-controlled General Assembly carved up Georgia to get maximum benefit for Democrat candidates.

Barnes lost to Republican Sonny Perdue a year later and the General Assembly switched from Democrat control to Republican dominance.

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