Tuesday’s runoff election returned an openly gay East Point City Council member to office, but saw an Atlanta School Board candidate attacked in transphobic mailers go down in defeat.
East Point City Council member Lance Rhodes, seeking his third term, was instrumental in getting domestic partner benefits passed for city employees.
Rhodes garnered 49.52 percent of the Nov. 8 general election vote while Karen Rene received 45.22 and Marie T. Williams got 5.05, according to official Fulton County election results. Because no candidate achieved 50 percent plus one vote, the top two advanced to the runoff.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial results from the Fulton County Board of Elections showed Rhodes winning the East Point Election with 52.32 percent of the vote, or 383 votes, and Rene with 47.68 percent, or 349 votes.
Rhodes was endorsed by LGBT political group Georgia Equality for the third time and also received the endorsement of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund for the third time.
Atlanta Board of Education
In the race for Atlanta Board of Education District 2, frontrunner Angela Brown lost to Byron Amos after his supporters targeted her in a series of mailers and phone calls to voters branded as “homophobic and transphobic” by gay political advocates.
Brown placed first in the field of five candidates in the November election, garnering 37.95 percent of the vote. Amos placed second with 24.26 percent. The runoff was required because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting for Tuesday’s runoff, Amos had 53.74 percent of the vote at 855 votes, while Brown had 46.26 percent, 736 votes.
The charge about children cross-dressing was included in a mailer with the headline, “Would you trust someone like this with your children?”
“She says she wants Atlanta School children to cross-dress! … whether it’s pink hair or gender bending… I am definitely supportive,” the mailer read, appearing to quote from an interview Brown gave to Atlanta Progressive News.
After Georgia Equality denounced the mailing and similar phone calls made to voters, Amos said he was not responsible for it and did not know who was.
“I am appalled first and foremost that that mail would be attributed to my campaign or anyone else associated with me, because that has not been the character of this candidate nor the character of this campaign since Day One,” he said.
“We have supporters out here, who knows what they would do, but that mailer took me off guard because it hit on some very sensitive issues that we must all sit down and begin to address as a family,” he added.
Amos has to answer for the tactic regardless of whether he personally approved and distributed the mailer, Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham told GA Voice.
“Clearly Byron Amos has a tremendous amount of explaining to do,” Graham said in an interview this morning. “Why are his supporters specifically attacking LGBT youth?”
Graham said the campaign mailer attacked “school kids,” not just Amos’ opponent.
“As far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter who put out the piece, we have got to send the message that it is completely unacceptable to stigmatize young LGBT people.”
Brown owns Imani Services, a non-profit consulting firm, and works for Lithonia’s First African Community Development Corporation as interim executive director. She also previously served as interim director of Charis Circle, the nonprofit programming arm of Atlanta’s Charis Bookstore, one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the country.