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|Results in other primary races of LGBT interest|
|by Laura Douglas Brown & Dyana Bagby|
|July 23, 2010 00:00|
• State Senate District 39: Incumbent Sen. Vincent Fort, one of the most outspoken LGBT rights advocates in the General Assembly, faced a challenge in the Democratic primary from Graham Balch, who also sought gay votes. According to unofficial results from the Secretary of State website, Fort garnered 6,881 votes, or 67.7 percent of the vote, compared to 3,284 votes, or 32.3 percent for Balch.
Fort’s campaign included an LGBT Initiative chaired by state Rep. Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), who was Georgia’s first openly gay state lawmaker and is running unopposed for her sixth term, and longtime community activist Craig Washington.
“To have Georgia Equality and the Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorse me is a testament to the work I’ve done over the last 14 years. I have always been an agent of change, with hate crimes, anti-bullying,” Fort said Wednesday morning. “We worked hard to put in a progressive coalition, with African American, pro-choice and LGBT rights. With this long-time work we were able to win.”
Balch’s prominent LGBT supporters included two gay politicos in East Point, former East Point City Council member Kevin Hudson and former City Council candidate Ken deLeon, as well as Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan, who donated to Balch’s campaign.
“I’m disappointed, not for myself but for educational reform in Georgia,” Balch said Wednesday. “I’d like to see it happen. My plans are the same as when I was running — help the Democrats get a majority, have educational reform and get the economy back on track.”
Fort faces no opposition in the November general election.
• U.S. House District 4: Democrat U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson will face Republican Lisbeth “Liz” Carter in the Nov. 2 general election for the District 4 seat. Carter is seeking to unseat Johnson, who has held the post since 2006.
Johnson has scored well with the national Human Rights Campaign, earning a 95 out of 100 rating in the 2008 HRC Congressional scorecard, the most recent scorecard available.
Johnson is a co-sponsor of the Uniting American Families Act, which would allow same-sex couples immigration rights, and voted in favor of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
He is also a co-sponsor of the inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Carter received the endorsement of the gay Georgia Log Cabin Republicans, and says that discrimination against any group doesn’t have a place in federal law.
She said she supports repealing DADT and would like to see federal recognition extended to gay couples, but isn’t particular about whether it is called marriage or civil unions.
She does oppose the federal government extending domestic partnership benefits, and to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban job discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
• State House District 80: Two Democrats — business owners Sandy Murray and Keith Gross, who is gay — battled in the primary for the chance to challenge incumbent Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta) for House District 80, located in the northeast Atlanta suburbs.
Unofficial results from the Georgia Secretary of State showed Murray cruising to victory with 68.4 percent of the vote, compared to 31.6 percent for Gross.
Gross attempted to challenge Jacobs in 2008, but was removed as a candidate after a legal challenge regarding his residency.
The gay Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Murray over Gross. Georgia Equality, which recently honored Jacobs with its Political Achievement award for his passage of an anti-bullying bill, did not endorse in the Democratic primary.
Gross has not responded to interview requests from the Georgia Voice. He is the owner of Sprouts Café near Emory University.
Murray said she supports gay marriage, the recently passed anti-bullying bill, non-discrimination laws and expanding healthcare benefits to state workers.
Jacobs also supports full marriage rights for gay couples. He was first elected in 2004 as a Democrat and then switched parties after the 2006 election. This will be the first year he has faced a Democrat since becoming a Republican.
• Secretary of State: Secretary of State Brian Kemp easily won the Republican primary for the seat, while Democrats Gail Buckner and Georganna Sinkfield will compete in the Aug. 10 runoff to see who will face Kemp in November.
The gay Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Michael Mills, who placed fourth in the Democratic primary.
Buckner, who received 35.1 percent of the vote, also applied for Stonewall endorsement. As a member of the Georgia Senate, she voted for the state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
Sinkfield, who placed second with 22.6 percent, voted against the gay marriage amendment when she served in the state House.
• State School Superintendent: Tuesday’s primary put Republican John D. Barge and Democrat Joe Martin on the Nov. 2 ballot. Martin took 54.9 percent of the Democratic vote, winning without a runoff in the field of three. In response to a survey from the Georgia Voice, Martin said he supported the rights of students to form gay-straight alliance clubs, bring same-sex dates to their high school prom, and anti-bullying programs that address anti-gay slurs.
Martin said he does not think people should be discriminated against in hiring based on sexual orientation and gender identity, but he did not favor a state law to clarify that. He also said that while he supports civil unions, “the most constructive direction at this time would be to seek to improve mutual understanding among all citizens instead of pressing for legal changes to redefine the definition of marriage.”
The state school system has come under increasing attention from LGBT activists after Jaheem Herrara, a Dekalb County fifth grader, committed suicide last year. His parents said he was relentlessly bullied, including with anti-gay slurs.
• State Attorney General: Both Georgia Equality and Atlanta Stonewall Democrats endorsed Rob Teilhet for attorney general. Teilhet lost to Ken Hodges, who received 65.5 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary.
On the Republican side, Sam Olens and Preston Smith will compete in the Aug. 10 runoff to see who will face Hodges in November. As a member of the Georgia Senate, Smith voted for the anti-gay marriage amendment.
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