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Gay issues discussed as Handel, Deal square off in televised debate

The two remaining Republican gubernatorial candidates met for a televised debate last night on Fox 5 Atlanta. Moderated by Russ Spencer, the debate covered a wide range of issues, including the anti-gay tone of the primary campaigns.

During the general primary, Deal released one of the most anti-gay commercials of the race that claimed Handel supported gay adoptions and domestic partner benefits. Handel spent a large portion of the early campaign denying her alleged support of gay issues as well as her involvement with gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans.

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Editorial: Roy Barnes for governor

In the days leading up to the July 20 primary, you couldn’t turn on the television without being inundated with ads from Republicans running for governor who wanted to tell you how anti-gay they are.

This year’s election season has been particularly bad, largely due to the particular Republicans on the ballot.

Karen Handel supported domestic partner benefits and was a member of the pro-gay Log Cabin Republicans during her campaigns for Fulton County Commission. But she denied those stands when she ran successfully for Secretary of State in 2006, and continues to deny her past support in her current bid for governor.

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Results in other primary races of LGBT interest

• State Senate District 39: Incumbent Sen. Vincent Fort, one of the most outspoken LGBT rights advocates in the General Assembly, faced a challenge in the Democratic primary from Graham Balch, who also sought gay votes. According to unofficial results from the Secretary of State website, Fort garnered 6,881 votes, or 67.7 percent of the vote, compared to 3,284 votes, or 32.3 percent for Balch.

Fort’s campaign included an LGBT Initiative chaired by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), who was Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker and is running unopposed for her sixth term, and longtime community activist Craig Washington.

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Election: Lesbian candidates headed for runoff in Fulton

Lesbian Joan Garner will face a runoff against Keisha Waites on August 10

In the Democratic primary for the District 6 seat on the Fulton County  Commission, lesbian candidates Joan Garner and Keisha Waites are headed for a runoff.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, unofficial election results from Fulton County showed Waites in first place with 3,576 votes, or 41.45 percent, and Garner in second with 3,408 votes, or 39.5 percent. David Holder had 837 votes for 9.7 percent and Sally Smith had 807 votes for 9.35. Only 168 votes separated Waites and Garner.

Since no candidate received 50 percent plus one vote, the top two advance to a runoff on Aug. 10.

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GA Voice Primary Election Guide

This year, Georgia elects a new governor, every state constitutional office, and every seat in the state legislature, plus many other offices ranging from U.S. Senate to county commissions.

The upcoming July 20 primaries will determine which Republicans and Democrats will battle it out in the Nov. 2 general election. A few November races also include a Libertarian or independent candidate as well.

The primary ballot includes three openly gay candidates: Joan Garner and Keisha Waites for Fulton County Commission District 6, and Keith Gross for State House District 80.

And while few candidates for the state’s top offices have openly campaigned for LGBT votes, many have long records — some positive, more negative — on issues that impact our community.

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Primary day

Before you vote in today's primary, take a look at our profiles of the candidates and their stands on LGBT issues

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John Oxendine reads the GA Voice

John Oxendine hits Karen Handel in a new political mailer

At least someone on Oxendine’s campaign staff does. Oxendine included us in a recent mailer attacking fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Karen Handel for her past connections to the Georgia Log Cabin Republicans and support of gay issues. See the full mailer here.

We appreciate the shout-out, Ox! (Even if you did make up a fake page to display)

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Candidates, where art thou?

It’s funny the difference time makes.

Seven months ago, gay Atlanta was at a fever pitch as we collectively attempted to navigate increasingly polarizing mayoral elections. Press conferences from the parking lot of Outwrite Bookstore, candidate meet & greets hosted by the metro areas gay elite, and strategic editorials and exclusives with the gay-friendly press scored a heated campaign that, at times, seemed like it could tear the LGBT community apart.

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Got “Milk”?

Film about slain gay leader Harvey Milk screens tonight at Woodruff Park