ATLANTA – A lawsuit claiming a transgender city councilwoman tried to fool voters by running as a female was dismissed today, clearing the way for a runoff that will decide her political fate.
A judge dismissed the lawsuit against Michelle Bruce, who is running for a second term on the Riverdale City Council. City Attorney Deana Johnson said the decision means the runoff slated for tomorrow will be held as scheduled, barring a ruling otherwise from the Georgia Supreme Court.
The 46-year-old Bruce, who runs an auto repossession business, landed one of Riverdale's four council seats in 2003 after running unopposed. She was believed to be the state's first transgender politician, and she pledged to attract more jobs and residents to Riverdale, about 12 miles south of Atlanta.
Her bid for a second term wasn't so easy. She attracted three opponents, and captured 312 votes in the November 6th election, not enough to avoid a runoff against second-place finisher Wayne Hall, who earned 202 votes.
But third-place finisher Georgia Fuller, who collected 171 votes, filed a lawsuit claiming election fraud. The complaint identified Bruce as "Michael Bruce," and claimed she misled voters by identifying herself as a female.