There are at least eight openly gay candidates running for seats in the Georgia General Assembly — four incumbents and five hopefuls.
Only Georgia’s first openly gay state legislator, state Rep. Karla Drenner, is unopposed, guaranteeing that there will be one out gay voice under the Gold Dome when the new legislative session starts in January.
The General Assembly’s three other openly gay incumbents — state Reps. Simone Bell, Rashad Taylor and Keisha Waites — all face opposition in the Democratic primary.
Thanks to redistricting, Bell and Taylor’s races are particularly hard, as they face fellow Democratic incumbents who have been supportive of LGBT issues. The decision is so difficult between Taylor and state Rep. Pat Gardner, a longtime LGBT ally, that gay political group Georgia Equality chose to sit the race out, believing that both would be equally strong on LGBT rights.
Of the openly gay candidates hoping to join the LGBT caucus in the state legislature, political advocate Ken Britt is the best known and best funded. He too is locked in battle with a politician who has supported LGBT rights, “Able” Mable Thomas.
Gay veteran William Phelps faces an uphill battle in the Democratic primary against LGBT-friendly incumbent Rep. Margaret Kaiser, who was endorsed by Georgia Equality.
Two other openly gay hopefuls — state House District 101 candidate Tim Swiney in Gwinnett County and Senate District 47 candidate Tim Riley in Athens — are unopposed in the Democratic Primary but face Republican opposition in November.
Georgia Equality, the state’s largest LGBT political group, and the gay Atlanta Stonewall Democrats have issued endorsements for the July 31 primary election.
HD 39 – Alisha Thomas Morgan HD 41 – Justin O’Dell HD 53 – Sheila Jones HD 56 – Ken Britt HD 58 – Simone Bell HD 59 – Margaret Kaiser HD 60 – Keisha Waites HD 85 – Karla Drenner HD 62 – Marvin Arrington, Jr HD 63 – TJ Copeland HD 76 – Sandra Scott HD 93 – Dar’shun Kendrick HD 105 – Renita Hamilton HD 113 – Pam Dickerson HD 118 – Spencer Frye HD 139 – Michael Dinkins SD 44 – Gail Buckner
General Assembly: Republican Primary
HD 97 – Robert McClure
Fulton County State Court – Jane Morrison Fulton County Superior Court – Clarence Johnson Fulton County Solicitor – Teri Walker DeKalb State Court – Dax Lopez Ogeechee Circuit District Attorney – Richard Mallard Rockdale Superior Court – Gary Washington
HD 39 — Alisha Thomas Morgan HD 41 — Diana Eckles HD 53 — Sheila Jones HD 56 — Ken Britt HD 57 — Pat Gardner HD 58 — Simone Bell HD 59 — Margaret Kaiser HD 60 — Keisha Waites HD 62 — Marvin Arrington Jr. HD 63 — TJ Copeland HD 92 — Doreen Williams HD 93 — Dar’shun Kendrick HD 94 — Jaye Lynn Peabody HD 105 — Renita Hamilton
SD 44 — Gail Davenport
Clarence Johnson — Fulton Superior Court Jane Morrison — State Court Fulton County