Georgia Equality endorses 9 LGBTQ candidates for November election

Georgia Equality endorsed 21 more candidates, bringing its total to 52 candidates selected for what could be a history-making November election.

The statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization’s slate of picks includes nine LGBTQ candidates. If all are successful, that would double the number of LGBTQ members in the state legislature.

“In a year that could truly change the course of government in our state, we are proud to announce our latest endorsements for the upcoming general election,” Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham said in a statement released Wednesday.

“We're excited to support each of their candidacies, and know that if elected, they will work hard to advance LGBTQ equality in Georgia,” he added.

The group endorsed the four current LGBTQ members of the state legislature — Park Cannon, Karla Drenner, Renitta Shannon and Sam Park — during the primaries. 

Cannon, Drenner and Shannon face no general election opposition and will cruise to their next terms. Park faces Republican former state Rep. Valerie Clark in a rematch of their 2016 contest.

Georgia Equality’s latest endorsements include four LGBTQ state House candidates (top photo, clockwise from bottom left) who are taking on incumbent Republicans: entrepreneur Adam Wynn faces Mandi Ballinger in House District 23 in Canton; attorney Matthew Wilson faces Meagan Hanson in House District 80 in Brookhaven; business owner Adam Bridges faces Bill Hitchens in House District 161 in Rincon; and school administrator Julie Jordan faces Don Hogan in St. Simons. 

The group also endorsed gay civic activist Ben Ku for Gwinnett County Commission District 2. If successful, Ku would become the commission’s first Democratic member in over 30 years.

Georgia Equality endorsed Stacey Abrams (governor), Sarah Riggs Amico (lieutenant governor) and Richard Keatley (labor commissioner) during the primaries. On Wednesday, they added five more statewide candidates to their list: John Barrow (secretary of state), Charlie Bailey (attorney general), Fred Swann (agriculture commissioner), Lindy Miller (Public Service Commission District 3) and Dawn Rudolph (Public Service Commission District 5). 

Georgia Equality explained its endorsement approach: 

In a period in which many people seeking elected office are supportive of the LGBT community, the Georgia Equality Board of Directors will issue an endorsement for a candidate who we feel is best placed to advance our policy agenda.  The lack of an endorsement should not necessarily be viewed as a negative reflection of a particular candidate's views on LGBTQ issues in general. In some instances, the board did not make an endorsement if there were multiple candidates with evenly matched views on LGBTQ issues or in races where an incumbent was running unopposed.

The full list of candidates Georgia Equality endorsements:

Statewide Offices:

Governor: Stacey Abrams
Lt. Governor: Sarah Riggs Amico
Secretary of State: John Barrow
Attorney General: Charlie Bailey
Labor Commissioner: Richard Keatley
Commissioner of Agriculture: Fred Swann
Public Service Commission District 3: Lindy Miller
Public Service Commission District 5: Dawn Randolph

State Senate:

District 6: Jen Jordan (i)
District 29: Valerie Haskins
District 40: Sally Harrell
District 41: Steve Henson (i)
District 44: Gail Davenport (i)
District 46: Marisue Hilliard
District 48: Zahra Karinshak
District 56: Ellyn Jeager

State House of Representatives:

District 23: Adam Wynn*
District 30: Alana Watkins
District 36: Jen Slipakoff
District 37: Mary Frances Williams
District 39: Erica Thomas (i)
District 40: Erick Allen
District 50: Angelika Kausche
District 52: Shea Roberts
District 56: Able Mable Thomas (i)
District 57: Pat Garner (i)
District 58: Park Cannon (i)*
District 60: Kim Schofield (i)
District 79: Michael Wilensky
District 80: Matthew Wilson*
District 81: Scott Holcomb (i)
District 84: Renitta Shannon (i)*
District 85: Karla Drenner (i)*
District 86: Michelle Henson (i)
District 95: Beth Moore
District 97: Aisha Yaqoob
District 99: Brenda Lopez (i)
District 101: Sam Park (i)*
District 102: Gregg Kennard
District 105: Donna McLeod
District 107: Shelley Hutchinson
District 108: Jasmine Clark
District 109: Regina Lewis-Ward
District 111: El-Mahdi Holly
District 113: Pam Dickerson (i)
District 117: Deborah Gonzalez (i)
District 144: Jessica Walden
District 153: Camia Hopson
District 161: Adam Bridges*
District 179: Julie Jordan*

Gwinnett County:

County Commission District 2: Ben Ku*
County Board of Education District 2: Wandy Taylor

* Indicates an openly LGBTQ candidate