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Democrats flip suburban Georgia House seat

In Democrats' first major House pickup, Carolyn Bourdeaux has flipped the open seat in Georgia's 7th District, CNN projected Monday.

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Simone Pathe
CNN — In Democrats' first major House pickup, Carolyn Bourdeaux has flipped the open seat in Georgia's 7th District, CNN projected Monday.

Her victory in the northeast Atlanta suburbs comes as the Peach State is quickly becoming the focus of the political universe. The same demographic shifts that made this district competitive are helping put Joe Biden in the lead in the state and are setting up a fight for the Senate majority that appears on track to come down to Georgia.

Democrats have flipped two North Carolina districts that court-mandated redistricting made much more favorable for them and were not expected to be competitive. But picking up this GOP-held seat in Georgia -- which had topped CNN's ranking of the House districts most likely to flip -- comes as the party fell short in so many of their top-targeted seats.

The news comes after CNN projected this weekend that Democrats will keep control of the House, but most likely with a smaller majority after some of their incumbents lost and challengers failed to pick up top-targeted GOP seats. Heading into Election Day, Democrats were optimistic about expanding their majority, but that didn't happen. At least seven Democrats lost their seats, including a handful of freshmen who had flipped districts in 2018 that had backed President Donald Trump in 2016. Meanwhile, Republicans held on in suburban areas where Democrats were hoping to make inroads.

The 7th congressional district, which backed Trump four years ago, presaged this year's focus on Georgia when it saw the closest House race in the country in the 2018 midterms. Bourdeaux fell short by about 400 votes in a recount. After his narrow victory that year, GOP Rep. Rob Woodall decided not to run for reelection in 2020, which some Republicans actually thought might increase their chances of holding the seat with a new candidate.

But Democrats painted Republican Richard McCormick, an emergency room doctor backed by the House Freedom Caucus' political arm, as too extreme for the district and tried to tie him to Trump, especially on the coronavirus pandemic. Republicans used their law-and-order messaging against Bourdeaux, but she outraised her opponent and likely benefited from Democrats' significant investment in this demographically changing state at the presidential level and in two Senate races. Democrats held onto a neighboring House district in the 6th District, which Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath flipped two years ago.

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