Elec­tion roundup:

Ge­or­gia LGBT re­ac­tions to ma­jor races.

GA Voice - - Front Page - By PA­TRICK SAUN­DERS psaun­ders@the­gavoice.com

It was a rough elec­tion night for Demo­cratic can­di­dates as Michelle Nunn, state Sen. Ja­son Carter, Con­nie Stokes, Doreen Carter and Greg Hecht all lost in their re­spec­tive races.

A great num­ber of polls and ex­perts had pre­dicted runoffs for Repub­li­can David Per­due and Demo­crat Michelle Nunn in the U.S. Se­nate race and Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Gov. Nathan Deal and Ja­son Carter in the gov­er­nor’s race, but TV net­works had called both races for Per­due and Deal be­fore 11 p.m.

“I re­ally thought that the get out the vote ef­forts were strong enough this year that we would have at least been in the po­si­tion to have a runoff, so I am a lit­tle sur­prised that both races were called with­out a runoff,” said Ge­or­gia Equal­ity Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Jeff Gra­ham while at the Hy­att Regeny At­lanta Tues­day evening, site of the elec­tion night watch par­ties for both Nunn and Carter.

How to tar­get LGBT vot­ers specif­i­cally is some­thing Democrats plan to do in the fu­ture.

“I think that we have to look at the LGBT de­mo­graph­ics. What we have to do is de­ter­mine who those LGBT peo­ple are and we’ve had a dis­cus­sion about that. Be­cause when you reg­is­ter to vote you aren’t asked [about sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion], and we no longer have a gay­bor­hood, peo­ple are ev­ery­where,” said Jim Taflinger, chair of the LGBT Cau­cus of the Demo­cratic Party of Ge­or­gia, while at a watch party at Am­s­ter­dam.

“So we’re go­ing to have to find a new way to iden­tify and tar­get LGBT peo­ple and that’s go­ing to be our next chal­lenge,” he added.

NO RUNOFFS FOR REPUB­LI­CANS

Nunn, the for­mer CEO of the Points of Light Foun­da­tion, faced crit­i­cism from some in the LGBT com­mu­nity for not clar­i­fy­ing her views on mar­riage equal­ity, stat­ing early on in the race that while she sup­ported same­sex mar­riage, she also thought it should be left up to the states. Nu­mer­ous at­tempts were made by the gay me­dia through­out the cam­paign to give Nunn a chance to clar­ify her stance on that and other is­sues of im­por­tance to the com­mu­nity but she re­fused or ig­nored all re­quests.

Lib­er­tar­ian can­di­date Amanda Swaf­ford asked her about her stance in an Oct. 8 Sen- ate de­bate, where Nunn con­firmed her support for same-sex mar­riage but left out any men­tion of states’ rights.

Per­due op­poses same-sex mar­riage and be­lieves it should also be left up to the states. But LGBT is­sues, in­clud­ing mar­riage, never be­came an is­sue in this cam­paign like it has in past races in Ge­or­gia.

Ac­cord­ing to un­of­fi­cial re­sults from the Ge­or­gia Sec­re­tary of State Of­fice at Tues­day’s press time, Per­due beat Nunn 55 per­cent to 43 per­cent, with Swaf­ford at 2 per­cent.

State Sen. Carter faced his own bout of crit­i­cism from the LGBT com­mu­nity for not go­ing on the record about his stance on same­sex mar­riage, but clar­i­fied his full support for mar­riage equal­ity in early Au­gust. How­ever, he also re­fused or ig­nored all re­quests by gay me­dia to clar­ify his stance on other LGBT is­sues. Per­due op­poses same-sex mar­riage and in 2010 ran one of the most anti-gay cam­paigns in the state’s his­tory. But again, in this race, LGBT is­sues such as mar­riage did not be­come a ma­jor part of ei­ther cam­paign.

Deal beat Carter 54 per­cent to 43 per­cent ac­cord­ing to the SOS of­fice as of press time, with Lib­er­tar­ian can­di­date An­drew Hunt at 2 per­cent.

“We still have a gi­ant amount to be proud of,” Carter told the crowd at the Hy­att Re­gency At­lanta in his con­ces­sion speech. “This cam­paign put ed­u­ca­tion back at the very top… We had a great de­bate on how to ap­pro­pri­ately fund our schools, how to im­prove them … We had a dis­cus­sion and de­bate about the HOPE schol­ar­ship and how to ex­pand it … and about mak­ing sure mid­dle class fam­i­lies and small busi­nesses didn’t get left be­hind.”

Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Lt. Gov. Casey Ca­gle hand­ily beat Stokes for lieu­tenant gov­er­nor, Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Brian Kemp did the same to Doreen Carter and Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Sam Olens also won by almost 20 per­cent­age points over Hecht.

Hecht gar­nered 976,624 votes, or 41.35 per­cent, to Olens’ 1.385 mil­lion votes, or 58.65 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to SOS un­of­fi­cial re­sults.

Hecht gar­nered wide­spread support from the LGBT com­mu­nity for his early embrace of mar­riage equal­ity and his prom­ise not to de­fend the state’s same-sex mar­riage ban should he be elected. Had he won, his pro-LGBT stance would have had a di­rect im­pact on the cur­rent fed­eral law­suit at­tempt­ing to strike down the 2004 ban.

OPENLY GAY MEN IN STATE LEG­IS­LA­TURE RACES LOSE

Openly gay Demo­crat Tim Swiney con­ceded to Repub­li­can P.K. Martin in his bid for the Se­nate Dis­trict 9 seat in Gwin­nett. The an­nounce­ment came in a Face­book post by Swiney barely an hour after the polls closed. Swiney had 33 per­cent or 18,114 votes and Martin had 66.96 or 36,715 votes, ac­cord­ing to un­of­fi­cial SOS re­sults.

Swiney, who lost in the race for House Dis­trict 101 in 2012, re­ceived en­dorse­ments from Ge­or­gia Equal­ity and Ge­or­gia Stonewall Democrats. How­ever, he faced a tough bat­tle by run­ning in a pri­mar­ily Repub­li­can dis­trict and was out­spent by Martin nearly three-to-one.

“We knew it was go­ing to be a tough run from the be­gin­ning,” Swiney told the GA Voice. “It’s a very con­ser­va­tive dis­trict and my strat­egy had been to be more of a mod­er­ate. And be­ing an openly gay can­di­date was dif­fi­cult to deal with but I put it out there up- front at the be­gin­ning so we could get it out of the way and talk about the is­sues.”

Repub­li­can Beth Be­skin beat Demo­crat Bob Gi­bel­ing for the State House Dis­trict 54 seat with 4,901 votes, or 64.4 per­cent, to his 2,040 votes, or 26.82 per­cent. Gi­bel­ing was con­sid­ered by po­lit­i­cal ex­perts to have the best shot of the three at mak­ing it to the Gold Dome.

Gi­bel­ing, who used to be a Repub­li­can, was en­dorsed by Ge­or­gia Equal­ity, the Vic­tory Fund and Ge­or­gia Stonewall Democrats. Be­skin out­spent him nearly four-to-one.

Gay Repub­li­can Christo­pher Der­aney lost with 26 per­cent, or 3,234 votes, to in­cum­bent Demo­crat Demetrius Dou­glas who had 73.79 per­cent, or 9,190 votes, in the House Dis­trict 78. That dis­trict in­cludes por­tions of Clayton and Henry coun­ties. Der­aney, who was en­dorsed by the Ge­or­gia Log Cabin Repub­li­cans, is a fis­cally con­ser­va­tive, pro-life po­lit­i­cal new­comer who faced an up­hill climb after be­ing out­spent by his op­po­nent nearly seven-to-one as of an Oct. 25 cam­paign dis­clo­sure re­port.

LES­BIAN RE­TURN TO GOLD DOME, ANTI-GAY PREACHER ELECTED TO CONGRESS

Les­bian state House Rep. Karla Dren­ner was un­op­posed in Dis­trict 85 and will there­fore be­gin her eighth term in Jan­uary. Les­bian in­cum­bents and State Reps. Si­mone Bell and Keisha Waites were also un­op­posed in ad­di­tion to Dren­ner. LGBT al­lies U.S. Reps John Lewis and Hank John­son had no op­po­si­tion and were re-elected.

Anti-gay preacher Repub­li­can Jody Hice was elected to U.S. House over I.K. Ken­neth Dious with 66.5 per­cent to rep­re­sent 10th Dis­trict, which in­cludes Athens.

In his 2012 book, “It’s Now or Never: A Call to Re­claim Amer­ica,” Hice claims “the ho­mo­sex­ual move­ment is also de­stroy­ing Amer­ica by ag­gres­sively seek­ing to de­stroy tra­di­tional fam­i­lies, re­li­gion and mar­riages for the pur­pose of re­mov­ing all so­ci­etal moral bound­aries.” He re­places the anti-gay Paul Broun.

Ge­or­gia Equal­ity’s Gra­ham says the or­ga­ni­za­tion spend the next cou­ple of months an­a­lyz­ing the data from the elec­tion.

“The mod­els that we have on LGBT vot­ers are re­ally very im­per­fect, but the mod­el­ing tools get bet­ter ev­ery time,” he says. “We didn’t have ac­cess to this stuff two years ago. So hope­fully over the next two years we’ll have bet­ter ways of tar­get­ing to the LGBT com­mu­nity.”

(Photo by Pa­trick Saun­ders)

Demo­crat Ja­son Carter, who pub­licly sup­ported same-sex mar­riage dur­ing his cam­paign, lost to in­cum­bent Gov. Nathan Deal.

SWINEY

DER­ANEY

WAITES

GRA­HAM

BELL

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