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HD 105 candidate Donna McLeod: Racial gerrymandering alleged

 

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Donna McLeod (D-Lawrenceville)

 

House District 105 (Gwinnett County)

 

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Donna McLeod

Donna McLeod — a plaintiff in a suit alleging political gerrymandering of local posts in Gwinnett County — says district lines were also redrawn to help her opponent in a state legislative seat.

“No party should be redistricting to dilute someone’s vote,” she said.

McLeod is running against Rep. Joyce Chandler, who’s won her last two elections in a demographically diverse district by about 550 and 800 votes.

Normally, legislative districts are adjusted every 10 years based on the latest census. But boundaries for more than a dozen legislative seats were also redrawn in 2015, making a competitive House District 105 more likely to vote Republican, McLeod said.

The changes removed a majority-minority precinct near Lawrenceville where a Democrat outpolled Chandler in 2014 by more than 600 votes. The district was also extended eastward into two precincts where white voters outnumber minorities by more than 3-to-1. In the 2014 governor’s race, Republican Nathan Deal beat Jason Carter, the Democrat, by 1,077 votes there.

Overall, the new boundaries added 500 black voters and 1,669 white ones to House District 105.

“It makes absolutely no sense, other than to dilute the growing minority group,” McLeod said.

Rep. Randy Nix, chair of the House Reapportionment Committee, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that affected incumbent requested the redrawn district lines. A condition of the changes, Nix said, was that they not make “significant statistical changes.”

Chandler told the AJC she did not recall asking for the new boundaries and did not know how they would affect her district.

“It could be Democratic now, for all I know,” she told the AJC.

McLeod is one of several plaintiffs in a federal suit filed in August alleging that districts for the Gwinnett County Commission and Board of Education dilute minority voting strength.

UPDATE: A Washington-based advocacy group, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, filed suit in April 2017 to challenge the mid-decade redistricting. The complaint alleged the redrawn lines were intended to counteract demographic changes in the district and protect incumbent Joyce Chandler.

Campaign website

Political career

  • Won the 2016 Democratic primary, 67-33%, for House District 105; faces incumbent Rep. Joyce Chandler in the general election.

Employment

  • Quality assurance/engineering contractor, Aerotek Inc.

Business ownership interests

  • President, Enviroqual LLC.

Other fiduciary positions

Real estate holdings

  • Personal residence in Lawrenceville valued at $137,000.

Other investments

  • None disclosed.

Payments from state agencies

  • None disclosed.

Campaign contributions

McLeod has raised more than $20,000 in political donations in 2016. She’s also put $1,770 of her money into the campaign.

  • Reported cash on hand (Oct. 2016): $9,866

Top donors

  • $3,500 Susan Clymer, Duluth, Ga, retired teacher
  • $1,300 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
  • $1,000 Southern Carpenters Regional Council

Campaign-to-campaign donations

Candidates may give campaign funds to other candidates, a practice that some say provides a legal means to circumvent contribution limits. A 2003 bill to ban such transfers altogether passed in the Senate but died in the House. McLeod’s campaign has made no such donations.

 Updated April 24, 2017

 

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