Ga. Rep. Rashad Taylor, who came out in office, loses reelection race

Rep. Keisha Waites, a lesbian who won office in a special election in February, appears to have handily won her bid for her first full term.

Rep. Simone Bell, the nation’s first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker, currently has a narrow lead in her reelection bid against Rep. Ralph Long, after Republican-led redistricting drew the two Democratic incumbents into the same district. With 75 percent reporting, Bell has 51.68 percent to Long’s 48.32 percent.

Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT political group, has not endorsed in this race. The gay Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Gardner. The Victory Fund, which only considers openly gay candidates, endorsed Taylor.

Taylor became the first openly gay man in the Georgia General Assembly after coming out at a press conference in May 2011 after the ex-boyfriend of his current partner sent out emails to legislators alleging he is gay and also accusing him of misusing his office. He is the co-founder of a political consulting company and a founder of Atlanta Jobs with Justice.

Rep. Pat Gardner, long known as an ally on LGBT issues, has served in the General Assembly for 11 years. She is a former teacher and businesswoman. In her work in the legislature, she has focused on women’s issues, healthcare and public transportation.


Top photo: Incumbents Rep. Rashad Taylor, left, and Rep. Pat Gardner face off after being pit against one another after Republican-led redistricting efforts.