Georgia Equality endorsed 13 candidates – including four LGBTQ candidates in metro Atlanta and Savannah – in municipal races taking place across the state next month.
In making the picks for the Nov. 5 elections, the importance of candidates who support LGBTQ rights “cannot be understated,” Jeff Graham, Georgia Equality's executive director, said in a press release on Wednesday.
“Municipal elections are so important to our movement and every LGBTQ person and ally should vote in their local elections,” he said.
"In a time when the state and federal governments provide uncertain paths for non-discrimination protections bills, we’re continuing to push for those protections at the municipal level,” Graham added. “Atlanta, Chamblee, Clarkston, Doraville, and Dunwoody have already passed non-discrimination protections for their citizens. We at Georgia Equality are working to see that list grow.”
The LGBTQ candidates Georgia Equality endorsed include former Doraville City Councilmember Joseph Geierman (photo second from right), who launched a bid for mayor in July. He also landed a Victory Fund endorsement in September.
Georgia Equality also endorsed Andy Yeoman (photo right), a gay IT professional who is running for Doraville City Council. He hopes to replace Pam Fleming, who was the only councilmember to vote against the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance. Yeoman also received a Victory Fund endorsement.
Geierman and Yeoman were two of about 35 candidates and elected officials who marched in Sunday’s Atlanta Pride parade.
Kurtis Purtee is another LGBTQ candidate who received Georgia Equality's endorsement. Purtee is a police captain for Georgia Southern University who is running for Savannah City Council.
The final LGBTQ candidate on Georgia Equality’s list is Davion Lewis (photo top left), the executive director of charter school group RISE Schools. He is running for East Point City Council.
Other LGBTQ candidates facing voters in November include Adam Bridges for Pooler mayor, Kathleen McQueen for College Park City Council and Mike Herring as a write-in candidate for East Point City Council.
Georgia Equality explained its endorsement approach:
In a period in which many people seeking elected office are supportive of the LGBTQ 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.
The full list of candidates Georgia Equality endorsed:
Mayor: John Ernst
District 3: Madeleine Simmons
City Council: Andrea Cervone
Mayor: Joseph Geierman
City Council District 1: Andy Yeoman
City Council Ward A: Davion Lewis
City Council Ward D: Erica Dean
Mayor: Van Johnson At-Large
Post 1: Kesha Gibson-Carter
At-Large Post 2: Tony Center
District 2: Bill Durrence
District 3: Linda Wilder-Bryan
District 6: Kurtis Purtee
UPDATE | A previous version of this story listed Tony Center as an LGBTQ candidate, but that was incorrect. Kurtis Purtee was the candidate for Savannah City Council who is LGBTQ.