Atlanta Mayor Seeks 2nd Term in Tuesday's Election
By Christina A. Cassidy | 11/4/2013, 3:47 p.m.
ATLANTA (AP) - Four years ago, it was a difference of 714 votes that carried Kasim Reed to victory in a fiercely contested race for Atlanta mayor.
Now, as Reed seeks a second term in Tuesday's election, the hottest races might just be for City Council or the local school board. That's not to say Reed doesn't have any challengers, but in terms of pure money and name recognition, Reed has outpaced them all and is considered a favorite to secure a second, four-year term.
Reed, 44, is known for his strong support of President Barack Obama as well as his working relationship with Republican Gov. Nathan Deal on issues such as transportation and economic development. Last week, Obama endorsed Reed, saying the mayor has earned a second term.
"If you look at what we promised during the campaign and what we set out to do, he has delivered on everything we promised during that campaign," said Tharon Johnson, a Democratic strategist and close Reed confidante who led Obama's re-election campaign in the South.
That doesn't mean Reed has been immune to criticism. Open government advocates have challenged Reed over a plan to use public financing to help support a new Atlanta Falcons stadium, while a group of street vendors have been loudly expressing their unhappiness since the city took steps to curtail the selling of goods on public streets. A court hearing was scheduled for Monday afternoon to determine whether or not Reed would be held in contempt of court.
And Reed made some waves among Democrats this summer when he spoke favorably of Deal, saying he had done a good job as governor. Reed, a former state lawmaker, said it's been important for him to find common ground on issues that benefit the city.
"Anyone who has seen me advocate for this president and for Democrats, they will know that I am unwavering and unflinching in my support," Reed said. "That doesn't mean I should not work with Republicans to get concrete results for the citizens of Atlanta."
In the nonpartisan race, Reed will face off against Al Bartell, Fraser Duke and Glenn Wrightson. All three candidates have not reported receiving any campaign contributions. Reed has raised $5.8 million and had $2 million in cash on hand at the start of October.
Before he had any announced opposition, Reed said that he would run an aggressive campaign and would not take any opponent for granted. He has run an aggressive TV campaign which has such an air of confidence that not once does the announcer asks the viewer to vote to re-elect Reed as mayor. Reed’s print ads however, do ask for votes.
Having a healthy campaign coffer has afforded the mayor to throw his support behind several other candidates who he feels will support his agenda for the next four years.
One of them is recently disbarred attorney Atlanta City Councilman H. Lamar Willis who is in a heated race with political newcomer Andre Dickens. Their race has provided the only heat in a rather low key political season. Dickens is supported by former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin who was attacked by Willis for comments she made about him during a press conference for Dickens.