Gay civic activist finishes seventh in Atlanta City Council race

A gay civic activist’s bid to go from City Hall watchdog to a sitting member of the Atlanta City Council fell short on Tuesday. 

Matthew Cardinale finished seventh in a special election with nine candidates vying to succeed the late Ivory Lee Young in District 3. Cardinale garnered five percent of the vote and failed to make the runoff.

Cardinale (top photo) said the results were “particularly stunning.”

“I feel like I was the most qualified candidate in this race by far,” he told Project Q Atlanta. “I really believe that I had something extraordinary to offer the people of Atlanta.”

Atlanta Municipal Clerk Foris Webb disqualified Cardinale from the race in February, alleging that he did not meet the residency requirements. Cardinale appealed Webb’s decision and a Fulton County judge reinstated him to the race

Cardinale said the month he spent fighting Webb’s challenge hurt his campaign. 

“The residency challenge really stood in the way in this very short election cycle of me being able to go door to door with my plans and share my story with the voters, and that probably was the exact objective of the City of Atlanta when they initiated said challenge,” he said.

Cardinale said he will continue working with the City Council on criminal justice reform, affordable housing and government transparency.

"I don’t need to be on the city council to accomplish extraordinary things for the people of the City of Atlanta," he said. "I feel like I could have done so much more on the council. I’ve been able to deliver before, and I will continue to do so.”

Former Atlanta school board member Byron Amos and business executive Antonio Brown received the most votes in Tuesday’s race and will face each other in a runoff. The winner will fill Young’s term through 2021.

Amos was accused of sending an anti-transgender mailer during his 2011 campaign for the Atlanta school board. He denied responsibility for the mailer