The sweeping tide of LGBTQ progress in this year’s elections didn’t quite make it to Atlanta. All three of the city’s gay and lesbian candidates who ran for office in Tuesday’s special elections lost their races.
De’Andre Pickett, a candidate for District 60 of the Georgia House of Representatives, was bested by fellow Democrat Kim Schofield. He was outstripped by just 233 votes. Keisha Waites, a one-time state representative, lost by 10 points in the race for Fulton County Commission chairman to Rob Pitts, a former commissioner and city councilmember.
Alex Wan was beaten by the same margin as Waites in the Atlanta City Council race. Wan, who was first elected to the council in 2009, ran for president of the 16-member board. In addition to being gay, he was the first Asian-American elected to the city council.
Felicia Moore, a fellow city councilmember, will hold the position instead.
The losses result in a dubious distinction for Georgia’s largest metro area, which is home to 5.7 million people. It will be the first time in two decades that not a single LGBTQ person is seated on the Atlanta City Council, according to the Georgia Voice.
Pickett’s election would have been a momentous milestone LGBTQ people in the state. The former chief of staff for two state representatives, he would have been the first queer person of color official to be elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. Rep. Rashad Taylor, a gay black man, was closeted when he was voted into the House eight years ago.
The 36-year-old was outed in 2011 after a former acquaintance emailed many of his colleagues at the capitol claiming that he used his position to coerce men for sexual liaison. Those allegations were unproven.
Taylor, however, was not reelected after his term ended.
Although LGBTQ hopefuls were shut out in Atlanta on Dec. 5, out candidates fared better elsewhere in the state. Doraville, a small suburb with a population of 8,330, elected two LGBTQ people to its city council last month: Stephe Koontz, a trans woman and church administrator, and Joseph Geierman, a gay attorney.
More than 40 queer and transgender candidates have been elected to office in the 2017 runoff elections, a record number.
Seattle elected its first openly lesbian mayor, Democrat Jenny Durkan. Danica Roem became the first openly trans person to be elected to a state legislature, defeating homophobic incumbent Dev. Bob Marshall in Virginia. Meanwhile, Minneapolis elected two trans people of color to its city council: Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham.