Three out of four openly gay incumbents in the Georgia General Assembly proved victorious in Tuesday's primary, while gay challengers in contested races were less successful. A lesbian attorney also won a seat on the Fulton County State Court in the July 31 vote.
In a race between two incumbents that divided LGBT endorsements, state Rep. Rashad Taylor — who came out as gay last year while in office — lost to state Rep. Pat Gardner, a longtime advocate on LGBT issues.
With 75 percent of precincts reporting, Taylor has 42.98 percent of the vote for House District 57, compared to 57.02 percent for Gardner, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State's office.
Shortly before 11:30 p.m.., Taylor posted on his Twitter account that he had spoken to Gardner to offer his congratulations.
The two Democratic incumbents were forced to face off due to new district maps created by the Republian-controlled legislature after the 2010 Census. Because there is no Republican candidate, today's Democratic primary effectively decides the race.
Taylor is one of four openly gay members of the Georgia General Assembly. Rep. Karla Drenner, Georgia's first openly gay state legislator, was unopposed for reelection.
State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta), the only openly gay man in the Georgia General Assembly, claims homophobic tactics are being used by his opponents, including distributing what he called an anti-gay flier in predominantly African-American neighborhoods in southwest Atlanta.
The flier, provided to GA Voice by Taylor via email, reads: “The Real Rashad” with a photo of Taylor. Below the photo the flier states: “The only openly gay male in the Georgia General Assembly [AJC 5/27/11]; Accused of using his position in the Legislature to solicit sexual relationships [AJC, 5/27/11]; Former roommates with Khaatim El [APN, 1/20/11]; Possibly lived with a male lover on Moreland Ave [APN, 6/11/12].”
The statements come from articles published by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Progressive News.
State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta), the only openly gay man in the Georgia legislature, is alleging homophobic tactics are being used by his opponents, including distributing what he calls an anti-gay flyer in black neighborhoods in southwest Atlanta.
The flyer, provided to GA Voice via email, states: "The Real Rashad" with a photo of Taylor. Below the photo the flyer states: "The only openly gay male in the Georgia General Assembly [AJC 5/27/11]; Accused of using his position in the Legislature to solicit sexual relationships [AJC, 5/27/11]; Former roommates with Khaatim El [APN, 1/20/11]; Possibly lived with a male lover on Moreland Ave [APN, 6/11/12]."
Taylor is set to hold a press conference on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Washington Street side of the State Capitol to discuss the issue. He denied living with a male lover on Moreland and said he lived with El when he was 22 and a Morehouse College student.
State Reps. Rashad Taylor and Pat Gardner face off in the Democratic primary for the newly redrawn District 57 — and the results are likely to be painful to LGBT voters.
Political districts are redrawn every decade to reflect population changes. Republicans control the Georgia legislature, and thus controlled redistricting after the 2010 Census.
The entire General Assembly is up for election this year, and two of Georgia’s four openly gay state lawmakers were drawn into districts pitting two Democratic incumbents against each other.