De­tails

GA Voice - - Georgianews -

When queer women’s health ad­vo­cate Park Can­non won the Fe­bru­ary runoff for the House Dis­trict 58 seat, she did so solidly, beat­ing for­mer state Rep. Ralph Long by nearly 20 points. But that 20 point win rep­re­sented only about 200 votes. And she could have avoided the runoff al­to­gether if she had re­ceived just 23 more votes in the pre­vi­ous month’s elec­tion.

While that was a spe­cial elec­tion, it still goes to show how much im­pact vot­ers are ca­pa­ble of hav­ing as all 56 seats in the state Se­nate and all 180 in the state House come up for grabs in this Novem­ber’s elec­tion. But first up are the pri­maries on May 24.

“It can ac­tu­ally have a huge in­flu­ence on both the makeup of the leg­is­la­ture for the next two years but also the tone of the de­bate around a whole host of is­sues that are im­por­tant to the LGBT com­mu­nity, and all of that gets de­cided on May 24 with the pri­maries,” says Jeff Gra­ham, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ge­or­gia Equal­ity.

Here we look specif­i­cally at the openly LGBT can­di­dates run­ning for the leg­is­la­ture this year, in­clud­ing four dif­fer­ent men who will at­tempt to be­come the first openly gay man elected to the leg­is­la­ture.

House Dis­trict 54

Dis­trict in­cludes:

Mid­town

The Lowdown:

Openly gay can­di­date Bob Gi­bel­ing is un­op­posed in the pri­mary elec­tion but faces a stiff chal­lenge this Novem­ber against in­cum­bent Repub­li­can Rep. Beth Be­skin. Gi­bel­ing will have a lot of ground to make up over the next six months as far as fi­nan­cial sup­port. As of Jan. 31, he had raised $7,400 and has $7,100 on hand, while Be­skin has raised $182,000 and has $49,000 on hand.

House Dis­trict 56

Dis­trict in­cludes:

South­west At­lanta, Down­town, and Mid­town

Mar­ck­eith DeJe­sus, a 37-year-old openly gay cer­ti­fied fi­nan­cial

The Lowdown:

Buck­head and West

April 1, 2016

“It can ac­tu­ally have a huge in­flu­ence on both the makeup of the leg­is­la­ture for the next two years and the tone of the de­bate around a whole host of is­sues that are im­por­tant to the LGBT com­mu­nity, and all of that gets de­cided on May 24 with the pri­maries.”

2016 pri­mary elec­tions for the Ge­or­gia leg­is­la­ture

Voter Reg­is­tra­tion Dead­line: April 26 Early Vot­ing Starts: May 2 Pri­mary Elec­tion Day: May 24

By PATRICK SAUNDERS

coun­selor, has a tough pri­mary on his hands as he faces off against Rep. “Able” Mable Thomas, who’s look­ing for a third straight term in Dis­trict 56 af­ter two pre­vi­ous stints in the House in the ’80s, ’90s and ’00s. The po­lit­i­cal new­comer has not filed any cam­paign dis­clo­sure re­ports as of Jan. 31, while Thomas has raised $43,000 and has $7,500 on hand.

House Dis­trict 58

Dis­trict in­cludes:

South­west At­lanta, Down­town, and Mid­town

Openly queer state Rep. Park Can­non can rest easy af­ter beat­ing for­mer state Rep. Ralph Long in a spe­cial elec­tion runoff in Fe­bru­ary to re­place Si­mone Bell, who re­signed last Novem­ber. Can­non has no chal­lengers in this year’s pri­mary or general elec­tion.

The Lowdown: House Dis­trict 59

Dis­trict in­cludes:

East Point, In­man Park, Grant Park, Lake­wood Heights, Lit­tle Five Points, Pon­cey-High­land and Reynold­stown

Josh Noblitt, the openly gay mar­riage and fam­ily ther­a­pist and pas­tor at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, jumped into the race to re­place state Rep. Mar­garet Kaiser, who is for­go­ing a re­elec­tion ef­fort to make a may­oral run in 2017. There are no Repub­li­cans who qual­i­fied for the race, so it’s all down to the Demo­cratic pri­mary to de­cide who takes the seat, and it could be a close one. As far as the money race goes, Noblitt has raised $62,000 and has $21,000 on hand, at­tor­ney David Dreyer has raised $95,000 and has $85,000 on hand, and Ja­nine Brown has raised $68,000 and has $52,000 on hand all as of Jan. 31.

The Lowdown: House Dis­trict 60

Dis­trict in­cludes:

South­east At­lanta, Hapeville, parts of Clay­ton and DeKalb coun­ties

Les­bian state Rep. Keisha Waites is un­op­posed in the pri­mary and is ex­pected to land a third straight term in of­fice when she faces off against Repub­li­can truck driver Ralph No­bles in Novem­ber.

The Lowdown: House Dis­trict 62

Dis­trict in­cludes:

Por­tions of Col­lege Park, Dou­glasville, East Point, and por­tions of Ful­ton and DeKalb coun­ties

This is one pri­mary to keep an eye on, with two openly gay can­di­dates and six can­di­dates over­all look­ing to re­place re­tir­ing state Rep. LaDawn Jones. And there is no Repub­li­can op­po­si­tion in Novem­ber so who­ever wins in May takes the seat. Openly gay com­mu­nity ac­tivist and flight at­ten­dant Rafer John­son landed a Gay & Les­bian Vic­tory Fund en­dorse­ment over les­bian fam­ily law at­tor­ney Va­lerie Vie, and John­son has raised the most money ($44,000) but has only $1,700 on hand as of Jan. 31. Vie has raised $19,000 and has $17,000 on hand, while at­tor­ney Wil­liam Bod­die, Jr. has raised $38,000 with $19,000 on hand and pub­lic ser­vant Aaron John­son has raised $13,000 with $8,000 on hand. En­tre­pre­neur Joshua But­ler and busi­ness­man Larry Perkins, Jr. have re­ported no money raised as of Jan. 31.

The Lowdown: House Dis­trict 85

Dis­trict in­cludes:

Avon­dale Es­tates, Clark­ston, De­catur and parts of Belvedere Park and Can­dler-McAfee

Les­bian state Rep. Karla Dren­ner isn’t go­ing any­where. She faces no op­po­si­tion in the pri­mary or general elec­tions and will be elected to her eighth term in of­fice come Novem­ber.

The Lowdown:

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