Bisexual entrepreneur Antonio Brown pulled off a surprise victory in the District 3 Atlanta City Council race, becoming the first-ever black openly LGBTQ member of the council.
Brown, 34, beat former Atlanta Public Schools board member Byron Amos with 53 percent of the vote in an election decided by just 82 votes. He received 669 votes to 587 for Amos. The runoff on Tuesday was to fill the vacant seat of Ivory Lee Young Jr., who died in November.
“My campaign was really driven by the people, and I believe the people were tired, and they wanted their voices to be heard,” Brown told 11Alive. “And that is the reflection of the outcome today.”
Brown (photo), who created the luxury menswear label LVL XIII, will return LGBTQ representation to the Atlanta City Council. There had been none since Alex Wan gave up his District 6 post to run for council president in 2017. Wan lost in a runoff.
Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, celebrated Brown’s win.
“His victory is important not just for Atlanta but for all of Georgia — a state where discrimination against LGBTQ people remains legal and anti-equality legislators continue to push policies that harm our community,” she said in a press release. “The Atlanta City Council has a proud history of LGBTQ council members, but for more than a year we have had no LGBTQ voice on the council. Thanks to Antonio, we are back.”
The Victory Fund said it raised $3,000 for Brown.
Amos lost despite the endorsements of nine city council members plus Greg Clay, the candidate who placed third in the first round of voting in March. Clay challenged Brown’s candidacy, saying a $5,400 state tax lien made him ineligible. But a judge ruled against Clay last week and allowed Brown to stay on the ballot.
Amos placed first in the March special election, with Brown coming in second. The crowded race also included gay civic activist Matthew Cardinale, who finished in seventh place.
Brown could not be reached early Wednesday for comment.
UPDATE | Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore reacted to Brown's win and thanked District 3 residents in a press release.
“As president of the Atlanta City Council, I welcome Mr. Brown as the city’s new District 3 council member,” she said. “Thank you to Atlanta’s District 3 residents for your patience and engagement throughout the electoral process. The council looks forward to conducting business on behalf of the city again with complete citywide representation.”