State Rep. Simone Bell, a passionate voice for equality at the State Capitol, tapped that zeal on Wednesday as she pressed LGBT supporters for cash to fund an expected contentious sprint to the May 20 primary.
Bell squares off against Erica Long, the wife of former state Rep. Ralph Long, as she seeks a third full term in the state House. Bell and Ralph Long have a bit of a history. In court. On the floor of the General Assembly. And on the campaign trail.
Bell became the nation's first openly lesbian African American state lawmaker when she won a special election in 2009. She later won re-election to full terms in 2010 and 2012 when she defeated Ralph Long. The two were pitted against one another thanks to Republican-led redistricting.
With no Republican candidate in the race, the winner of the May 20 primary will take the District 58 seat. Bell is one of three openly gay members of the state House.
On Wednesday, Bell and supporters, including Georgia Equality's Jeff Graham, made passionate pleas to raise funds to support her campaign. Georgia Equality has endorsed Bell. Other attendees included Kyle Williams, a gay attorney running for the state Senate, gay City Council member Alex Wan and Tim Cairl, chair of Georgia Stonewall Democrats, which also backed Bell. Williams hosted an LGBT fundraiser on April 17, an event that Bell attended.