One gay man wins, two go to runoffs in Georgia elections

The Doraville City Council has a new LGBTQ member, and two other LGBTQ candidates are headed to December runoffs in municipal elections across the state. 

Those were just some of the races held on Tuesday featuring openly LGBTQ candidates. Five LGBTQ candidates were on the ballot, one ran as a write-in candidate and another was disqualified the day before the election.

IT professional Andy Yeoman (top photo left) won a spot on the Doraville City Council in a landslide. Former Doraville City Councilmember Joseph Geierman (top photo middle) will go to a Dec. 3 runoff in the city’s mayoral race. And Kurtis Purtee (top photo right), a police captain, is headed to a runoff for a Savannah City Council seat.

The rundown of the seven LGBTQ candidates and their races:

 

Andy Yeoman, Doraville City Council

 

Yeoman beat Gerald Evans by over 30 points to take the District 1 seat on the Doraville City Council, according to 11Alive. Tom Owens came in third in the race.

That brings the number of LGBTQ members of the council back up to two after Geierman gave up his seat to run for mayor in July. Stephe Koontz is the other LGBTQ member.

Yeoman replaces Pam Fleming, who was the only councilmember to vote against an LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance the council passed last November. 

Yeoman thanked supporters on Facebook on Tuesday night. 

“I promise to stay true to my values of respect and common decency,” he wrote. “As we approach our sesquicentennial, we owe this effort and commitment to the respect of those that came before us, and more importantly, to generations to come.”

Yeoman was endorsed by the Victory Fund and Georgia Equality

 

Joseph Geierman, Doraville Mayor

 

Geierman (photo left with husband B.J. Abbott) came about 125 votes away from winning the Doraville mayoral race outright. Instead, he’ll face incumbent Donna Pittman in the December runoff.

Geierman received 39 percent of the vote while Pittman got 28 percent, according to 11Alive. MD Naser and Tom Hart came in third and fourth, respectively.

“Thanks to everyone who supported me and believed in Doraville’s future!” Geierman wrote on Facebook on Tuesday after the results were in.

Geierman was elected to the city council in 2017 and resigned in July of this year. He was endorsed by the Victory Fund and Georgia Equality.

If he wins the runoff, Geierman will be Doraville’s first openly LGBTQ mayor and just the second LGBTQ mayor in Georgia. Hiawassee Mayor Liz Ordiales, a lesbian, was elected in 2017.

 

Kurtis Purtee, Savannah City Council

 

Purtee will try to oust Tony Thomas, the longest-serving member of the Savannah City Council, in the Dec. 3 runoff election. The race is for the District 6 seat.

Thomas got 47 percent of the vote to Purtee’s 39 percent, according to WSAV. Antonio Hunter came in third with 14 percent.

If he wins, Purtee would be the council’s first-ever openly LGBTQ member. 

Purtee thanked supporters and urged them to continue helping his campaign until the runoff.

“In the next 30 days you will see my team and I continue to fight for you,” he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “Remember that you are voting to bring your voice to city council. We will continue this grassroots movement funded by small dollar donations, which have become even more critical now.

This is at least the second time Thomas has faced an LGBTQ candidate. He beat David Self in 2015. 

In 2016, Thomas was investigated by the GBI over allegations that he groomed, sexually abused and provided drugs and alcohol to several teenage males. A grand jury voted not to pursue charges against Thomas, according to the Savannah Morning News.

Purtee was endorsed by Georgia Equality.

Pam Miller, a lesbian, lost her race for Savannah City Council in 2011.

 

Davion Lewis and Mike Herring, East Point City Council

 

Gay educator Davion Lewis was disqualified from the race for the Ward A seat on the East Point City Council just one day before the election.

City Clerk Keshia McCullough initially disqualified Lewis (photo left) on Oct. 24 after receiving a citizen complaint about how long he’d lived in the city, according to the AJC. Lewis’s attorney argued unsuccessfully in Fulton Superior Court on Monday for the judge to overturn the clerk’s order.

Lewis reportedly moved to East Point in December, but candidates are required to live in the city for at least one year before an election. He was endorsed by Georgia Equality.

Gay civic activist Mike Herring was running for the Ward A seat as a write-in candidate. He missed the qualifying period due to a personal matter. 

Lance Robertson won the race with  nearly 77 percent of the vote (357 votes) and will succeed Councilmember Alexander Gothard, who did not seek re-election. Some 107 write-in votes were cast in the race, though Fulton County election results did not specifiy for whom those ballots were cast.

Herring or Lewis would have returned an LGBTQ person to the city council for the first time since 2015. Three other LGBTQ candidates have made unsuccessful bids for East Point City Council in recent years. 

 

Kathleen McQueen, College Park City Council

 

Lesbian restauranteur Kathleen McQueen lost by nearly 30 points to incumbent Ambrose Clay in the race for the Ward 1 seat on the College Park City Council. Thomas Kuzniacki came in third.

McQueen would have been the sole woman and only LGBTQ member of the council if she won.

McQueen co-owns Urban Foodie Feed Store in downtown College Park.

 

Adam Bridges, Pooler Mayor

 

Bridges gained 42 percent of the vote for Pooler mayor to Rebecca Benton’s 46 percent. Typically that would result in a runoff since no candidate received at least 50 percent of the vote. But there are no runoffs in Pooler elections according to the city charter, Bridges wrote on Facebook. He lost by about 100 votes.

“This was an amazing ride!” he wrote. “It goes to show every vote counts! Thank you guys again for your support!”

Bridges announced his run for mayor in July. The city of 24,000 is located just outside of Savannah in Chatham County.

Bridges was moved to run after reviewing post-election voting data from his House District 161 race in 2018. He lost the election by nearly 30 points, but won Chatham County with a large number of votes in the Pooler area.