Gay candidate makes new bid for Ga. Senate

Riley announced he will run as a Democrat for the District 47 Senate seat. All seats in the Georgia House and Senate are up for election this year. The official qualifying period for candidates is April 26-30. Party primaries are slated for July 20 and the general election is Nov. 2.

Riley ran for the same seat in 2008, losing to Republican Ralph Hudgens in the general election. Riley received 25,172 votes, or 35.2 percent of votes cast, compared to 46,257 votes, or 64.8 percent, for Hudgens.

In a press release about his new bid, Riley said that he first ran for state Senate in 1988, and noted the dramatic changes for an openly gay candidate in the span of 20 years.

“It was a different time when I won the nomination in 1988, I had death threats and many vile remarks back then,” he said. “In 2008 some 20 years later it was more low-key and issue oriented. Georgia is growing up and we are all taking seats at the table now, even in rural Georgia.”

State Senate District 47 includes parts of Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Jackson, Madison and Oglethorpe counties.

Riley, who cites a Ph.D. in Counseling from Clark Atlanta University, is an alcohol and drug counselor at Aloha Counseling Centers in Snelville.