Waites, Others Run for Vacant State House Seat in Special Election



Waites Runs for Vacant House Seat in Special Election


(APN) ATLANTA — Keisha Waites, who recently ran for the Fulton County Board of Commissioners District 6 seat in 2010, is running for an empty State House seat in District 60.  The election is one of two Special Elections to be held February 07, 2012.

HD 60 includes southeast Atlanta, Hapeville, and parts of Clayton and DeKalb Counties.

“The elections are non-partisan special elections with no party primaries.  However, each candidate’s  party affiliation, if any, will be listed on the ballot.  Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 7, 2012.  Run-off elections, if needed, will be held on Tuesday, March 6, 2012,” a press release for Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office stated.

Georgeanna Sinkfield held the seat for several years, but did not run for reelection in 2010 because she ran for Secretary of State of Georgia; Sinkfield won the Democratic nomination but lost to Brian Kemp.

Gloria Tinubu, a former member of the City Council of Atlanta, former mayoral candidate, and former member of the Board of Directors of the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, was elected in 2010, having been the only candidate to qualify for the seat.  Sinkfield announced she was vacating the seat to run for Secretary of State late in the game, leaving some to believe the seat was essentially hand-delivered to Tinubu.

Tinubu served only one year, in which she made headlines for heavily criticizing AdvancED/SACS CASI during the Atlanta Public Schools debacle.

Now, after serving only one year in the seat, Tinubu has vacated the seat to run for US Congress in South Carolina.

Waites is one of three candidates running for the seat; Theresa Middlebrooks and LaTrenka Riley are also running.  All three candidates are listing as Democrats.

Middlebrooks is a member of Neighborhood Planning Unit Z and was one of the NPU’s representatives to the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board.

According to Riley’s Facebook page, she is the co-owner of J&L Riley Enterprises, LLC; President of The Gift Answer; Co-founder of the Atlanta Professional Business Network; and Creative Director of the Email Specialist.

Waites has run for office several times and this is her ninth run.

Previously, as noted, she ran for Fulton County District 6.  She also in 2006 ran for Fulton County Chairman.

She almost won both races.

In 2010, she led Joan Garner in the General Election in a four-way race, but Garner won in the run-off.

In an interview with Atlanta Progressive News that year, she took positions on issues such as the privatization of Grady Hospital and funding for the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, while Garner declined to take positions.

Waites will have significant name recognition in this race.  In addition, HD 60 overlaps with sections of Fulton County District 6, where Waites previously ran.

Waites declined a request for a phone interview, stating that she was uncomfortable after years of what she perceives to be mistreatment by some media outlets, including the GLBTQI media.  Waites said she would be willing to do an interview in person or answer questions by email.

Indeed, a headline in Project Q Atlanta, states, “8-time loser Keisha Waites wants to lose again.”

Dwanda Farmer, who noted that she herself has run for office four times in Atlanta and lost, said she was offended when she read the article.

Farmer, who said that Waites is the only openly homosexual candidate in the race, said she did not understand why a gay publication like Project Q would criticize Waites, especially when it notes, “If Waites wins, she’d become the fourth openly gay member of the Georgia General Assembly, joining state Reps. Karla Renner, Simone Bell and Rashad Taylor.”  Generally, GLBTQI publications have an editorial position of supporting more GLBTQI people in office.

To be sure, at one point in the article, Project Q wrote, “Good grief, people.  Just let her win once.”

Waites ran in 2001 for City Council of Atlanta Post 1-at-large; and in 2002 for State Senate District 36; in 2004 she applied to fill a temporary vacancy in Council District 12, when Derrick Boazman vacated the seat; and she ran in 2005 for District 12; in 2006 for Fulton County Chairman; in 2008 for State House District 61; in 2009 again for Council District 12; and in 2010 for Fulton County District 6.

There is a second Special Election in HD 107, which covers parts of Gwinnett and Walton Counties.  Three Republicans–Mark Banks, Tom Kirby, and Paul Smith–as well one independent, Michael Lynch, have qualified.

State Rep. Len Walker, who served for seventeen years, retired to take a pastoral position out of state, the Walton Tribune newspaper reported.


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