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Proposed districts released
Graves may not represent Dawson Co.
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Counties in the new proposed 9th district

• Banks

• Clarke (partial)

• Dawson

• Elbert

• Fannin

• Forsyth (partial)

• Franklin

• Gilmer

• Habersham

• Hall

• Hart

• Jackson

• Lumpkin

• Madison

• Pickens (partial)

• Rabun

• Stephens

• Towns

• Union

• White

A new proposal for Georgia's congressional districts means Tom Graves may no longer represent Dawson County's interests in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The new map divides the current 9th Congressional District, and opens all or parts of 20 Northeast Georgia counties for new representation in the U.S. House.

Graves, R-Ranger, would represent an area in the northwest corner of the state stretching from Haralson and Paulding counties north to Dade and Murray counties.

"While we must wait for the state legislature to work its will, if the congressional map that was released holds, it will be an honor to run for re-election in the 14th district and continue working on behalf of Northwest Georgia. Most importantly, my focus remains on representing the current 9th district to the very best of my ability," Graves said Tuesday morning.

Currently, Georgia's 13-member congressional delegation has an 8-5 Republican majority.

Republicans have made huge gains in Georgia since the last full round of redistricting, when Democrats led the state. The GOP now holds every statewide office and the majority in both legislative chambers, giving it control of the partisan map-making process for the first time.

Georgia's General Assembly is beginning its second week of a special session to redraw the state's political boundaries in accordance with new population numbers provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Republican-drawn maps for state House and Senate districts were given an easy pass last week, and each sits in the hands of the opposite chamber.

Also on Monday, the state Senate committee charged with reviewing a plan for new state House districts in Georgia has given the map a pass.

Likewise, a House committee on reapportionment passed a map of Senate districts; both decisions send the maps to the Rules committee, which will decide when the maps will receive a final vote in each chamber.

The Senate committee deliberated for less than an hour on the House districts Monday and accepted no substitutions.

It is tradition in Georgia for each chamber to accept the district map drawn by the other chamber without revision.

The House voted 108-64 in favor of its map, and the Senate approved its map by a vote of 35-18. It is the first time in Georgia that Republicans have controlled the redistricting process from start to finish.

While members of Dawson County's delegation have said they were pleased with the proposed state maps, delegates from neighboring Hall County attempted to seek changes to the House districts drawn for Hall County.

The legislators' concern was the addition of House members to Hall County, most of whom would have constituent bases that are largely from surrounding areas, including a section of western Hall that would be shifted into Rep. Amos Amerson's district.

Amerson, a Republican from Dahlonega, who represented the Yellow Creek area of Hall County during the 2003-2004 Sessions, said he still has many friends in the area.

Amerson's 9th district currently includes part of Dawson, most of Lumpkin and some of northeastern Forsyth near Lake Lanier.

"I have represented the Northeast corner of Forsyth since January 2005 and have many friends there. Dawson and Lumpkin counties do not provide the total population needed for State House District 9, so it must be filled out by a neighboring county," Amerson said.

Amerson said the map, if approved, will meet the needs of the district for the next 10 years.

"I will faithfully represent the whole district and that includes those constituents who are added," he said.

Two Southeast Georgia representatives made an effort to have their House districts redrawn.

But Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, chairman of the Senate's reapportionment committee, said the plan had not been submitted in time to be considered by the committee.

Seabuagh said a substitute map needed to be submitted at least 24 hours before Monday's hearing to be considered by the committee. He told the representatives they would have to take their proposed changes up in January.

A substitution also did not come for the House districts that include Hall County.

Lawmakers from the area have said they have been negotiating behind the scenes to get the local delegation reduced for the county.

No sign of that negotiation surfaced Monday and neither member of the House delegation was present at the meeting.

A spokesman for the governor said Nathan Deal will continue to work to see changes to the state House map as it pertains to Hall County.

And just as Seabaugh said about the Southeast Georgia districts, Deal spokesman Brian Robinson also hinted that the maps could change after legislators approve them.

"It may have to wait till January, but we do hope to see changes," Robinson said.

Before the maps can be approved, they are subject to federal scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act, which is designed to protect African-American voters.

Deal, a former congressman, said he thinks the maps are fair and will pass muster with the Justice Department or federal courts.

DCN staff writer Michele Hester contributed to this story.