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|Ga. Rep. Rashad Taylor, who came out in office, loses reelection race|
|Written by Laura Douglas-Brown|
|Tuesday, 31 July 2012 22:28|
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.
Rep. Keisha Waites, a lesbian who won office in a special election in February, appears to have handily won her bid for her first full term.
Rep. Simone Bell, the nation's first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker, currently has a narrow lead in her reelection bid against Rep. Ralph Long, after Republican-led redistricting drew the two Democratic incumbents into the same district. With 75 percent reporting, Bell has 51.68 percent to Long's 48.32 percent.
Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT political group, has not endorsed in this race. The gay Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Gardner. The Victory Fund, which only considers openly gay candidates, endorsed Taylor.
Taylor became the first openly gay man in the Georgia General Assembly after coming out at a press conference in May 2011 after the ex-boyfriend of his current partner sent out emails to legislators alleging he is gay and also accusing him of misusing his office. He is the co-founder of a political consulting company and a founder of Atlanta Jobs with Justice.
Rep. Pat Gardner, long known as an ally on LGBT issues, has served in the General Assembly for 11 years. She is a former teacher and businesswoman. In her work in the legislature, she has focused on women’s issues, healthcare and public transportation.
Top photo: Incumbents Rep. Rashad Taylor, left, and Rep. Pat Gardner face off after being pit against one another after Republican-led redistricting efforts.
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