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|Three lesbian lawmakers return to Ga. General Assembly|
|by Laura Douglas-Brown|
|November 06, 2012 23:52|
Tonight's election means there will be three openly lesbian members of the Georgia General Assembly. State Rep. Simone Bell (D-Atlanta) easily won her reelection bid against Republican Earl Cooper, while Reps. Karla Drenner and Keisha Waites were unopposed on today's ballot.
With percent 91.67 percent reporting, Bell had 87.19 percent of the House District 58 vote, according to unofficial results from the Fulton County election office. She became the first openly lesbian African-American state lawmaker in the nation when she won a special election in 2009, and won a tough primary in June when she faced off against fellow incumbent Democrat Rep. Ralph Long thanks to GOP-led redistricting.
But tonight's election likely means the General Assembly will include no openly gay men when it convenes in January. In Athens, Tim Riley, a Democrat, lost his bid for State Senate District 47 to Republican Rep. Frank Ginn. With three out of four counties in the district reporting, Riley had 34.54 percent of the vote, compared to 65.46 percent for Ginn, according to unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State.
In Lawrenceville's House District 101, gay Democrat Tim Swiney also appears to have failed to knock out Republican Rep. Valerie Clark. Votes from Gwinnett County were slow to come in on Tuesday night, but at 11:36 p.m., Swiney had 43.73 percent of the vote compared to 56.27 percent for Clark.
An openly gay man has never been elected to the state legislature. State Rep. Rashad Taylor (D-Atlanta) came out whle in office, but lost to incumbent Pat Gardner (D-Atlanta) in the July primary.
Two other openly gay candidates also fell short in Tuesday's election. With 124 of 159 counties reporting, Libertarian Brad Ploeger had less than 5 percent of the statewide vote in his long-shot Libertarian bid for Public Service Commission, losing to Republican incumbent Chuck Eaton.
In Rome, Ga., gay Democrat Gary Harrell also was unsuccessful in his bid for a seat on the Floyd County Commission.
With all precincts reporting, unofficial results from the Rome Election Office showed Harrell with 10,653 votes (34.58 percent) for the Post 2 seat, compared to 20,130 (65.33 percent) for Republican incumbent Garry E. Fricks.
Top photo: Simone Bell (file photo)
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