With early voting already on the way (running from November 27, 2017, through December 1, 2017) and only eight (8) days until the Atlanta Mayoral runoff election, it seems that both candidates are pulling out all the stops to seal the win. With endorsements rolling in, these final days for the candidates–Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood–are shaping up to be a fierce fight to the finish. Councilwoman Bottoms appears to be leading in the endorsements arena, yet Councilwoman Norwood has received the weighty endorsements of former Mayor Shirley Franklin and Peter Aman.
Both women bring their own political baggage to the table, leaving some voters less than thrilled about the choices. This fact was front and center last week when Councilwoman Norwood issued a financial challenge to her opponent, calling on Bottoms to release her tax returns and other financial records. In addition, a newly created Facebook Group, ATL Against Corruption claims as its focus “End the Corruption” and to “Unite Atlanta.” The group links any support for Councilwoman Bottoms to supporting the continued corruption in City Hall. Posts and comments across social media suggest the heavy support of Mayor Kasim Reed’s political machine and the alleged corruption of his administration is damaging Councilwoman Bottoms’ chances of becoming Atlanta’s next mayor. Further, there are also those who take issue with Councilwoman Bottoms’ liens and the vacation home in Martha’s Vineyard.
On the other side, Councilwoman Norwood is not only playing defense against allegations that she is a de facto Republican, but an audio recording of her speaking to the Buckhead Young Republicans raised eyebrows. Speaking about why she lost in the 2009 cycle, Councilwoman Norwood blamed “the machine” and a fraud scheme. A self-proclaimed “progressive independent” Councilwoman Norwood should receive pushback on her comments in that particular setting. Although some of the allegations regarding Councilwoman Norwood’s Republican ties are recycled from her 2009 run for mayor, her recent dog whistling pandered to potential Republican voters about so-called “thugs” intimidating people into voting illegally. Councilwoman Norwood was also pressed on her response to a question at a prior Mayoral forum concerning racial profiling by the Atlanta Police Department.
In the 2009 runoff election between Mayor Reed and Councilwoman Norwood, there was a slight uptick in voter turnout. It will be interesting to see this year’s runoff turnout as it compares to the 2009 race. While there has been much ado about the mayoral election it is not the only race on the ballot, which also includes the City Council President runoff and several other seats.
For some ATLiens, today’s Atlanta has lost a lot of the history, culture, and sense of community that once made it home. While many may feel the Mayor’s race is a lost cause, the other seats including City Council President provide an opportunity to have meaningful representation. The right City Council President could appoint committee heads with a more progressive approach. Vote, vote like your address depends on it.
Fulton County Early Voting at various locations 8:30 am to 7:00 pm
Dekalb County Early Voting at two locations 8:00 am to 5:00 pm