LGBT civic activist loses race for South Fulton mayor

A gay civic activist running to become mayor of the new City of South Fulton lost on Tuesday, placing third in a crowded field of candidates.

The defeat for Rafer Johnson came in his second campaign for public office. Johnson, a flight attendant for Delta, lost a state House race last May.

On Tuesday, Johnson took 12 percent of the total, or 1,408 votes. That put him behind former Fulton County Commissioner Bill Edwards, who won 49 percent (4,922 votes) and Benny Crane and his 16 percent (1,889). Edwards and Crane will compete in a runoff on April 18.

Johnson thanked his supporters late Tuesday.

“I am very grateful to all my friends and supporter for your passion and contributions,” Johnson said in a Facebook post.

After the election results were clear, Johnson urged residents of the new city to stay engaged.

A historic day in our NEW City of South Fulton. Regardless of the outcome, we built many friendships and raised the bar for elections in our city. This is only the beginning - together we will raise a city we can be PROUD of. I THANK all of the candidates, it is nothing easy to throw your name on the line. I bigger thanks goes to the families that supported the candidates and the volunteers who made magic happen. Congratulations to those who are elected or in the runoff tonight and I hope that the others will stay engaged as we can all help hold our leaders accountable to the success of our city. Sincerely, Rafer

Johnson also said his campaign “fought a good fight.”

Thank YOU for everything. We came in 3rd of 9 and fought a good fight.

Thank you again, we will go get some rest and recharge.

With deep gratitude, Rafer

Johnson was endorsed by the Victory Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that trains LGBT candidates and supports their campaigns. In February, Johnson was the target of a homophobic flier aimed at his campaign.