Gay voters to boycott primary

What does this mean for Cox and Taylor? What could it mean for Ralph Reed in a close primary battle with Casey Cagle?

Gays and lesbians, who are concentrated in Fulton and DeKalb counties, are furious at Cox, for what they call a “flip-flop” on the gay marriage issue. Two years ago Cox blasted the Republican-authored constitutional gay-marriage ban as “unnecessary.” But she recently backed a call for a special legislative session to reinstate the ban after it was thrown out by a Superior Court judge.

“I had a [Cathy Cox] bumper sticker on my car. I made a contribution. I even stuffed some envelopes for her,” said Joshua Stewart, 27, of Atlanta. “Now I won’t be voting for a Democrat in the gubernatorial election.”

Cox says her position on gay marriage has remained constant, and she has reached out to gay leaders in an attempt to explain her reasoning.

Many gays, however, say they will vote in the Democratic primary, but boycott the gubernatorial slate entirely. Some, like Stewart, plan to cross over and vote in the Republican primary in an attempt to derail conservative candidate Ralph Reed, who is running for lieutenant governor.


  1. The Busdriver says:

    I’m sure Ralph is writing a blast email right now . . .

    “Radical homosexual activists are targeting my campaign because of my strong stand on traditional family values, and because they don’t want me fighting for you, blah blah blah”

    I’m sure in this instance Ralph will be quick to embrace the AJC’s work. It’s only when they’re reporting his scandals that they’re “the liberal mainstream media.”

    And the martyr complex continues . . . .

  2. midtowndem says:

    I am writing in a candidate for Governor as a protest vote in the Democratic Primary and in the November General Election since everyone has addressed the amendment in the same manner.

    I will write in Correta Scott King for Governor as a tribute/protest vote. Correta Scott King who died January 30th never gave up the struggle for human rights.

    I cannot think of anyone better to write in as a tribute to her life and outspoken positions on racial and economic justice, women’s and children’s rights, gay and lesbian dignity, religious freedom, the needs of the poor and homeless, full employment, health care, educational opportunities, nuclear disarmament and ecological sanity.

  3. MrGOPJr says:

    FYI: Georgia law does not allow write-ins in the primary. However, if you want to protest, you can skip the contest altogether or vote for one of the two minor candidates in the Democrat primary.

  4. Mojo says:

    Like I said before, Cox is the loser of the week. She loses the gay vote with her amateur approach to campaigning. Isn’t there like 500k gays in Georgia? I’m not sure. If she is having this much trouble during a primary how is she going to hold up against the real deal, big money, grand stand of the actual gubernatorial election? Mark Taylor will clean up in the rural areas and south Georgia and Cox will, now, squeak by in the urban areas…and lose to Taylor.


    The other two are whackos. If only a hippie Green were running. Though, to be honest, Dashler is a little less whacko than the Libertarian who doesn’t even post a photo on his campaign site. Does he have leprosy or something?

  5. MrGOPJr says:

    Thanks for the info, Mojo. Obviously, I am a Republican, so I don’t really keep up with the philosophies of the minor Dems running. Dashler is petitioning to get on the ballot. It will be interesting to see if he succeeds.

  6. midtowndem says:

    I wish the Green party would pull some of the Dems away, the extreme left is just like the extreme right, whacko. I guess we at least agree on something Bill.

  7. Mike Hassinger says:

    The problem with boycotts is that they don’t usually work. You can’t get participation rates high enough to have an effect. (Some gay voters will still vote in the primary and negate the effect of the boycott.) And in this instance, even a successful (100% of pro-gay marriage voters stay home) boycott won’t work at all, because those who support gay marriage are being used as a motivating factor to turn out anti-gay marriage votes, presumably on the Republican/conservative side of the voting spectrum. Gay marriage and gay voters are being used as a political football -so they can’t really “take their ball and go home.” They ARE the ball.

    I think once they realize that a boycott would do nothing except push Perdue’s victory margin higher they might re-think this boycott idea.

    Crossover voting in an organized way is really, really difficult to pull off(just ask Mark Davis how hard his “Goodbye Cynthia” effort was in 2002) but (as Mark showed) it can work.

  8. Even in 2002, it was much less crossover voting as it was people who didn’t usually vote in primaries came out because they realized that was their chance to get rid of McKinney.

    A huge percentage of D primary voters in District 4 that year had never voted in primaries before. Only a small amount had previously voted Republican.

  9. Mike Hassinger says:

    Do you have data from the 4th in 2002? I think the AJC tried to discredit the crossover theory (saying only about 6500 or so Republicans “crossed over”) , but I’d heard it was something like 30,000 anti-Cynthia votes. Don’t know if they were true crossovers or new primary voters.

  10. Decaturguy says:

    All I know is that Majette beat McKinney in the 2002 Democratic Primary by more votes than have ever been cast in the Republican Primary in Dekalb County in the previous 10 years. Therefore, even if you believe that every Republican in Dekalb County crossed over and voted for Majette, had that not happened, Majette would have still won.

    I believe that the best way to boycott is to pull a Democratic ballot in July, but not vote in the Governor’s race. If there turns out to be less votes in the Governor’s race than there are in down ballot races, like lets say school superintendent, then you’ll know something is up. Even if write in votes are not allowed in the primaries, I believe that if you try, it will be counted as a no vote.

  11. Here is a very interesting fact about Cynthia’s races in 2002 and 2004.

    When she won the primary in 2004, she received fewer votes than when she lost in 2002. In other words, turnout was enormous in 2002, among Democrats, Republicans and independents who didn’t normally vote in primaries.

    DG I believe you are correct about a vote not being counted. One warning however is that there is so much dropoff usually from top of the ticket in a primary that people may notice. In 2004, almost 100,000 primary voters didn’t even bother to vote in the US Senate race, which initially made people think more Georgians pulled a Republican ballot.

    Turnout and races people choose to participate in can be odd.

  12. Decaturguy says:

    “One warning however is that there is so much dropoff usually from top of the ticket in a primary that people may notice.”

    Exactly. So if there are 100,000 more votes for lets say Lt. Governor over Governor because of the boycott of the Governors race, and Cathy Cox loses by less than 100,000 votes (votes she would have otherwise had if she had kept her stupid mouth shut), that is one way to demonstrate that she really screwed up!

  13. Mike Hassinger says:

    So, you’re advocating that the people upset with Cathy Cox abstain from voting in the Democrat Governor primary, in the hopes that a bunch of down-ballot races get more votes than the governor’s race, in order to be able to say “See I told you so,” to Cathy when she loses?

    At the risk of giving away the closely-guarded Republican electoral strategy and secrets, that’s not how to win.

    Seriously, you’ll never be able to demonstrate the effect, unless by some electoral miracle your fellow boycotters exceed the vote totals in the governors’ race for all the down ballot contests. You won’t. (Chris, back me up on this.) You’ll probably get LESS of a fall-off than you would have WITHOUT a boycott, but there will still be fewer overall votes cast down-ballot than in the governor’s race. But you won’t ever be able to convince anyone that such and such a race would have had x percentage more or less votes had you not boycotted.

    But hey, it’s your vote and you can shoot yourself in the foot with it if you want to.

  14. Romegaguy says:

    So I hear that Cathy Cox went on Air America last night. Now she is in favor of gay marriages and would jump in front of a train if that would help. She might as well go ahead and close up her campaign.

  15. debbie0040 says:

    Busdriver, Ralph SHOULD publicize the fact gays are going to crossover and vote for Cagle to stop Reed. Ralph Reed is public enemy number 1 for gays and left wing liberal groups.

  16. GTdem says:

    This is why Democrats have done so poorly the last few election cycles, the lack of what I will call, “voter discipline.

  17. Melb says:

    GT Dem,
    When you have a better choice, you don’t have to accept flaws that you don’t like in the other candidate. Other than Debbie and a few others on this site most aren’t overlooking Ralph Reed’s flaws and are voting for Cagle. People don’t have to vote for Cathy and whatever they consider her flaws to be, because they can vote for Mark Taylor. Obviously the GLBT community doesn’t want to vote for either, but to say that this is why we defeat ourselves is not true. It is a primary, we are supposed to weed out the person with the most flaws and I think that person will be Cox. Her campaign has floundered and she has shown a lack of conviction and willingness to think for herself. Mark Taylor is the obvious choice and he will have my vote.

  18. GTdem says:

    That’s my point exactly. It is a primary so we are supposed to weed out the people with the most flaws. But how can that be done when an entire voting bloc decides to boycott the process because of a single flaw.

    The winner of the Democratic Primary should be the candidate most able to win the general election. At this point in the campaign, I believe that’s Cathy. I don’t think her campaign has “floundered

  19. Decaturguy says:

    I’m sick and tired of the “Democratic voters need to remember that before you can make public policy, you have to be in the policy making position” argument. Up until less than 4 years ago, Democrats had 150 uninterrupted years of being in a “policy making position.” How did that turn out?

    Unless we put a line in the sand on this one, things will never change. Do you really think that Cathy Cox, if elected, would do anything differently? Hell know, if she fooled us one, she’ll try to fool us again.

    I’m not a fan of Mark Taylor or Sonny Perdue. But at least you know what you’re getting. Georgia Democrats need to be taught a lesson and if throwing Cathy Cox overboard facilitates that then I’m fine with it.

    Mike, you might be right. However, I don’t see how I’m shooting myself in the foot when there are no good options to vote for in the Governor’s race. I essence, I don’t care who wins so long as it is not Cathy Cox.

  20. Decaturguy says:

    GTDem, you seem to misunderstand the issue between the marriage amendment and Cathy Cox. It is not really about gay marriage, or any single issue. It is about her flip flops, her abandonment of her principles, and her abandonment of her core supporters.

    The marriage amendment problem is just a symptom of something larger. She’s lost her base, and that is no way to win a primary election.

  21. GTdem says:


    I’m tired of that argument too. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

    I’m pretty sure I understand the problem Cathy created for herself. And its one of politics, not policy. She made hasty remarks about the issue before carefully considering how those remarks would be interpreted. That’s bad politics. As I’ve said before she should have just kept quiet.

    I, and the base she has supposedly lost, have never fully agreed with Cathy’s policy on the amendment so I don’t see her base totally abandoning her now.

    That being said, it takes both good policy and good politics to win an election and she has some work to do on both.

  22. uh_huhh says:

    Mr. Hassinger, the impact of a gay electoral boycott was obvious to everyone in the Illinois governor’s race in 1998. The race was exceedingly close, and the moderate Republican beat the rural Democrat who had insulted gay voters throughout the campaign. There was a very visible, highly organized campaign in the gay community to vote for the Republican. On election night, it became clear that the margin of the Democrat’s loss came from a handful of liberal, Democratic, and heavily gay wards in Chicago, where voters simultaneously voted overwhelminging for Senator Carol Moseley Braun, a liberal Democrat. Shortly thereafter, the moderate Republican governor endorsed the state gay rights bill. And the state Democratic party–which had gone so far as to mail voters cards basically saying gay people should be thrown overboard for the sake of the party–has been more respectful of gay voters ever since. It was the most empowering vote I ever cast. So it has been and can be done.

  23. stephaniemills21 says:

    What I really do not understand why the LGBT community is so surprised. Cathy is running for Governor of GEORGIA, not Mass. She is doing what she has to do to win, and if that includes coming out against gay marriage, then that is what she has to do. It is as simple as that. I personally do not care for her that much, but I truly believe that if she were governor that she would use her office to keep stupid issues like this amendment off the table in the first place. That is what democrats did for years.

    Also, when Cathy announced she was running for Governor she was not the power elite’s choice and many dismissed her. To prove them wrong, she had to raise money fast, and she went to the people who would give her money fast, the Atlanta liberals (and a huge portion of that group is the LGBT folks). She courted their votes and addressed their issues, staking out a position to the left of most democratic primary voters. That was the only way she was going to make a good showing, she needed cash fast, and if she showed up at the first disclosure with less than she eventually raised, then it would not be likely that she would be able to claim her front runner status. If you thought that she would stay that far to the left, then I am sorry you were had. Maybe you should have looked at her a little more closely. Hell, she never relinquished her membership in the Druid Hills Golf course either. I mean, was she ever really on the LGBT side of the issue?

    Now, Decaturguy, you said this:

    I’m sick and tired of the “Democratic voters need to remember that before you can make public policy, you have to be in the policy making position

  24. Mike Hassinger says:

    I didn’t say that gay voters (or any bloc of voters) couldn’t influence the outcome of an election, I said a BOYCOTT wouldn’t be effective. The situation you describe (which I don’t dispute) was an active campaign that required organization, voter identification, communication, persuasion -you know, a campaign. Those things that make people go vote in elections.

    You actually make my point, and I hope Decaturguy understands what I meant. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. Y’all bought a ticket in Illinois and played the game and won. (If you call electing George Ryan “winning.” He was actually to the left of the Democrat on almost everything (if I recall) and wouldn’t fit most people’s definitions of “moderate.” And isn’t he going to jail for 80 billion years?)

  25. McCain-Rice \\\'08 says:

    I hope this is true!, that’d be great!, Cagle needs all the help he can get, and this would show Democrats like Cathy Cox that “flip-floppin” dont get you elected in Georgia, even if you are a Democrat.

    Ralph Reed is about as Anti-Gay as a modern day politician can get, he is somewhere to the right of his buddy Pat Robertson, and Rev.Jerry Fallwell…while Cagle is staunchly against gay marrige and gay addoption (as am I), at least he respects gay people as good human beings, unlike his opponent who considers them “Public Enemy Number 1”, despite those Islamic extremists who want “death to America”, Ralph Reed reminds us that the real evil doers are Gay people….GOOD ONE RALPH!

  26. McCain-Rice \\\'08 says:

    Stephenie, Cathy Cox is the one that needs to realize she is running for Governor of GEORGIA, not Massachusetts…down here, we dont take kindly to flip floppers whether we are Democrat or Repiblican, Gay or dosn’t matter, no Georgian likes a flip flopper.

    By the way, just to let you know…The Governor of Mass. is a Republican by the name of Mitt Romney, and he is against gay marrige.

  27. McCain-Rice \\\'08 says:

    ok..that one tops my list of miss-spellings (lol) REBIPLICAN…just so I dont get jumped on again, I know how to spell REPUBLICAN.

  28. uh_huhh says:

    Fair point about the necessity of organizing, Hassinger. There was lots of organizing around the strategy of teaching the Democrats a lesson in that Illinois election–including lots of discussion in the Chicago gay newsweekly and pamphleting at major gay events during pride month.

    And, yes, teaching the Democratic party not to take us for granted was a huge victory for the gay community in Illinois, no matter who the Republican was.

    Yes, Ryan was convicted of corruption as secretary of state (before becoming governor) in a campaign contribution scandal. As governor, though, he deserves credit for having the guts to clear out Illinois death row through commutations after an astounding 20 men or so on death row were exonerated by DNA evidence, exposing a systemic problem that undermined confidence in other convictions were DNA evidence was not available. Maybe that’s why you mistakenly recall him as liberal. Other than that, however, he was your typical moderate Illinois Republican; his predecessor, Jim Edgar (Republican), had also endorsed the gay-rights bill. Ryan’s coyness about that bill during the campaign made him appear slightly to the right of Edgar. At any rate, social right-wingers don’t tend to fare very well in Illinois. There, the GOP hasn’t been turned into an evangelical church.

    Ryan was not clearly to the left of the Democrat on much of anything in the campaign. The Democrat was strong on old-time Democratic issues, like labor and race. He was a perfectly preserved time capsule from about 1960. He and Ryan seemed roughly equivalent on gay issues, except that Ryan was a Republican deliberately reaching out to the community while the Democrat was a take-you-for-granted bastard.

  29. uh_huhh says:

    George Pataki in New York is another example. LGBT voters didn’t change the outcome of his re-election in 2002, but he successfully wooed them by making it clear he would get a civil rights bill through the GOP-controlled state Senate, which he did. Pataki received the endorsement of the state gay rights organization and the support of many gay voters. Partly as a result, the Democratic candidate this year, Eliot Spitzer, has come out strongly in favor of same-sex marriage, ensuring that a GOP opponent–which may be former Mass. Gov. William Weld–can outflank him on our issues. This is exactly the kind of politics the LGBT community needs to play, whenever it can–being as completely mercenary as possible.

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