Gay civic activist loses race for Fulton commission

Delta flight attendant Rafer Johnson lost his quest to become Fulton County’s sole LGBTQ commissioner and its first-ever openly LGBTQ male member.

Johnson (photo) came in fourth in Tuesday’s election, garnering 14 percent of the vote, according to Fulton election results. He was less than 400 votes from making the runoff in the nine-member field. Joe Carn and Gordon Joyner will go to the Oct. 15 runoff to fill the unexpired term of Emma Darnell, Fulton’s District 6 commissioner who died in May.

Johnson thanked supporters and bemoaned voter turnout in the race in a Facebook post on Wednesday. 

“The majority has spoken and yes, I am disappointed for myself and the hardworking team but even more disheartened for the community,” Johnson wrote. “We continue to want change and progress, but keep choosing the same career and some say corrupt politicians versus fresh, new thinking.”

“More than 95 percent of voters did not vote, we cannot continue this trend, this is why we have Trump in office. And the City of South Fulton with over 50 percent of the votes has NO representation on the Board of Commissioners,” he added.

Johnson also urged people to join Fair Fight, the voting rights group led by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

The Fulton commission race was Johnson’s third run for public office. He ran for Georgia House District 62 in 2016 (placing fourth in the primary) and for South Fulton mayor in 2017 (placing third).

LGBTQ ally Paula Kupersmith came in third in Tuesday’s race to fill the District 2 seat on the Atlanta school board. Both Kupersmith and Johnson were endorsed by Georgia Equality. Aretta Baldon and Davida Huntley will head to the Oct. 15 runoff in that race.