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US House primary races to watch in Georgia

Our races - and particularly those for Congress - are among the most closely watched around the entire country.

ATLANTA — Georgia is now a pivotal swing state - maybe the most important bellwether in the country, in some respects.

That means our races - and particularly those for Congress - are among the most closely watched around the entire country.

There are several U.S. House races in the Peach State with important primary contests underway ahead of the May 24 Primary Day voting. 

RELATED: Georgia primary election guide | What are the races, who are the candidates?

Because of redistricting, among those are one race in which a Democratic seat will all but certainly flip to whomever wins the Republican primary, and in another race we have the rarity of two sitting U.S. congresswomen running against each other in a primary.

Here are the best ones to watch ahead of May 24:

7th District

This is, in some ways, a painful race for Democrats.

Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, a freshman representative who was a professor at Georgia State University when she was elected to Congress in 2019, is the incumbent.

But her chief opponent in the Democratic primary, Rep. Lucy McBath, has actually been in Congress longer - serving two terms as the representative for the 6th District.

Now, Georgia's redistricting process has slammed the two well-regarded representatives together.

The redrawn 6th District covers less of Atlanta's nearer northern suburbs and extends farther north through Dawson County, making it a seat that's all but certain to be won by a Republican.

So McBath, a progressive who has made her name in Congress with gun control advocacy and healthcare efforts, is challenging Bourdeaux, a centrist who is noted in particular for her economic policy and budgeting chops.

It figures to be a pretty close race, with the limited polling available suggesting that neither candidate could clear the 50% +1 vote threshold to avoid a runoff, in which they'd go up against each other again.

That's because a third candidate, state Rep. Donna McLeod, is liable to draw in a smaller amount of support that could keep either from clearing the runoff hurdle.

Both have signature high-profile endorsements - Amb. Andrew Young for Bourdeaux, Sen. Elizabeth Warren for McBath. And several high-profile progressive and liberal groups - among them NARAL Pro-Choice America, End Citizens United and Planned Parenthood Action Fund - have endorsed them both.

Both, also, have shown off their electoral formidability before - McBath unseating former Rep. Karen Handel in 2017, and Bourdeaux holding off Republican Rich McCormick in 2019.

6th District

As already noted, this one is there for the taking for Republicans thanks to redistricting, and as such it has drawn many candidates.

In all, there are nine candidates on the ballot in this Republican primary, making it highly likely none will be able to clear 50% + 1 and there will eventually be a runoff.

Among the candidates are former Marine, ER doctor and 2020 nominee Rich McCormick, former chair of the Georgia state ethics commission and Trump-endorsed Jake Evans and a 2020 election observer who gained something of a profile for alleging fraud, Suzi Voyles.

One of the only polls done for this race, conducted in February, suggested McCormick has sizable advantage - unsurprising, given that he was the nominee against Bourdeaux two years ago.

In that poll, Evans, conservative organizer and activist Meagan Hanson, small business owner Blake Harbin and "MAGA Mom" Mallory Staples all drew small amounts of support as well.

The most interesting question appears to be if, as appears likely, McCormick leads the pack and winds up in a runoff, if he'll be up against a second-place finisher who can leapfrog him in a head-to-head race. 

We've seen stuff like that before, even most recently with the Atlanta mayoral race last year.

14th District

This is the Marjorie Taylor Greene race.

Rep. Greene was cleared to run for reelection by a state administrative judge this week and then the Georgia Secretary of State, after a legal challenge to her candidacy on 14th Amendment grounds alleging she should be ineligible for supporting insurrection.

Her candidacy can still be appealed to local and state courts, as far up as the Georgia Supreme Court, so the matter isn't yet entirely settled.

Sensing at least the possibility of an open race, four other Republicans jumped in to challenge the controversial congresswoman in the primary. 

The polling done so far however suggest that as long as she's allowed to run, there isn't a serious threat of any of them unseating her.

On the Democrats' side, while it's virtually impossible to imagine a Republican losing in the deep-red 14th District, it will be interesting to see how Marcus Flowers - an Army veteran who has generated a massive social media following among the liberal base for his opposition to Greene - performs.

10th District

This is the seat Rep. Jody Hice is vacating for a run at the Secretary of State's Office.

The Republican primary field, as with the 6th District, is huge - 10 declared candidates in all.

Hice himself has endorsed state Rep. Timothy Barr to succeed him, but early polling had him behind several other candidates.

Among them are former U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, who was the 10th District representative from 2007-15 before he ran and lost in another district. He's endorsed by former Gov. Nathan Deal to return to his old seat.

Publisher Marc McMain and former state revenue commissioner David Curry also had some polling support in those early surveys.

There's also the Trump-endorsed Vernon Jones, a former Democratic state representative who left the Democratic Party and rebranded himself as a vocal MAGA figure. His campaign however has been clouded recently by a rape accusation resurfacing, as 11Alive's Doug Richards reported this week.

All of them, at least in the early polling, trailed Mike Collins, though. Collins is a trucking executive and the son of former U.S. Rep. Mac Collins endorsed by the strongly right-wing American Populist Union.

There has not been extensive polling here, so it really is anyone's race.

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