SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Georgia's senior congressman overcame his toughest Republican challenger in more than a decade Tuesday, as voters elected Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop to a 16th term by a decisive margin despite GOP attacks blaming Bishop and President Joe Biden for high inflation.
Bishop won his showdown with GOP newcomer Chris West in what was considered the only competitive U.S. House race in the Deep South. Congressional maps across the region were redrawn last year to give most seats a lopsided advantage for one party or the other.
Unofficial election returns showed Bishop winning with roughly 55% of the vote in southwest Georgia's 2nd District, a seat he's held since 1992. Republicans had hoped for an opening after recent changes to the district’s boundaries diluted the influence of Black voters.
“You and almighty God have allowed me over the past 30 years to use this office ... as a public trust,” Bishop told supporters in Columbus late Tuesday. He added: “I’m grateful that you have allowed me to serve you.”
Bishop, a 75-year-old Black Democrat, has spent three decades cultivating a reputation as a moderate to win support among farmers and military voters in the largely rural district, which includes Albany and portions of Columbus and Macon. He argued his seniority enables him to steer more federal dollars to the district. The last time he faced a close reelection race was 2010.
West, a real estate developer and National Guard officer, argued it was time for a change as he blamed Bishop, along with Biden, for high prices at gas pumps and grocery stores.
In northwest Georgia's 14th District, Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene coasted to reelection over Democrat Marcus Flowers. Greene's outspoken embrace of fringe-right conspiracies prompted admirers and detractors across the U.S. to throw money at the race. Greene raised more than $11.6 million and Flowers topped $14 million.
Supporters cheered Greene during a victory speech in Rome as she predicted a Republican takeover of the House. She declared: “We are going to fire Nancy Pelosi” as speaker of House.
Republicans flipped one House seat in Atlanta's suburbs. GOP physician Rich McCormick won election to the 6th District. The seat became vacant when Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath fled after it was redrawn to favor Republicans. As McBath won reelection running in a safer neighboring district, McCormick defeated Democrat Bob Christian in her old seat.
Republican Mike Collins, son of the late Rep. Mac Collins, kept northeast Georgia's open 10th District in GOP hands. Collins defeated Democrat Tabitha Johnson-Green in a district vacated by GOP Rep. Jody Hice, who ran unsuccessfully for Georgia secretary of state.
Learn more about the issues and factors at play in the midterms at https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections. And follow the AP’s election coverage of the 2022 elections at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections.
Russ Bynum, The Associated Press