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Challengers line up to unseat incumbent David Scott in Georgia's 13th District

Tia Mitchell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Political News

ATLANTA — As an incumbent with name recognition and a healthy campaign account, U.S. Rep. David Scott is the man to beat in the Democratic primary in Georgia’s 13th Congressional District.

But that hasn’t stopped a half-dozen others from signing up to challenge him this year. Scott, who turns 79 next month, has been slowed down by age and health challenges. Redistricting also drastically shifted the boundaries of the 13th District, meaning that Scott has never represented most of its voters before.

Mark Baker, a former South Fulton City Council member who ran unsuccessfully against Scott in 2022, sees an opening. Baker said 70% of voters in the 13th are new, meaning the incumbent now has less of an advantage.

“Gwinnett County has the most voters in our district,” he said. “So I just thought that was also an opportunity.”

Because of the way the district is drawn with an electorate that is heavily Black and Democratic, the winner of the primary will be the favorite against the Republican challenger in November.

While on the campaign trail, Baker has highlighted his efforts to back reparations for descendants of American slaves, and if elected, he said he would work to secure reproductive rights and voting rights.

 

Less is known about Scott’s vision if he were to be elected to a 12th term. In recent campaign cycles, he has declined to participate in debates or show up at town halls and voter forums where he would share the stage with competitors.

Instead, he uses his fundraising advantage to speak to constituents through mailers, billboards and radio ads. Over the past year, Scott has used his office to host events for seniors to help connect them with federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

He touts his record of achievements during two decades in Congress, including becoming the first Black person to chair the powerful House Agriculture Committee. Scott also heralds his ability to obtain funding in federal spending bills for agriculture and other industries important to Georgia and for Black colleges.

“I have always prioritized bringing federal dollars back home to my district in Georgia,” he wrote in a March news release celebrating the earmarks he secured this year. “And I appreciate working with my local city and county partners to ensure that they have the financial resources to prosper.”

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