Atlanta Mayor Seeks 2nd Term in Tuesday's Election

By Christina A. Cassidy | 11/4/2013, 3:47 p.m.
Four years ago, it was a difference of 714 votes that carried Kasim Reed to victory in a fiercely contested ...
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Willis’ name is oddly missing from a political flyer which arrived in voters’ mailboxes this weekend from an obscure political organization called Continued Atlanta’s Progress, Inc. The flyer listed 13 city council and Atlanta Board of Education candidates who they claim "will work with Mayor Reed to continue Atlanta’s progress."

Reed’s Case for Re-Election

In making his case, Reed hopes voters will approve of efforts he's made on pension reform, public safety and economic development. Reed said reforms to the pension system were critical considering costs were soaring while city revenues were falling. He also pointed to growing the city's rainy day reserves from $7.4 million to $126 million.

"If the last three years hasn't been a rainy day, I don't know what is," Reed said. "And in those times, we balanced four budgets and we've received an unqualified opinion from our auditor that our finances are in good shape. And I think, in these times, without raising property taxes, that is a pretty good achievement."

Reed says his biggest disappointment in the past four years was the failure of a local penny-sales-tax plan to raise funds for transportation projects. The statewide referendum was defeated across much of the state. Reed said he and other supporters should have started earlier to communicate the importance of the plan.

Among Reed's challengers, Bartell is perhaps best known. A certified mediator, Bartell has been a frequent candidate for elected office, including U.S. Senate and lieutenant governor. Bartell is calling for more public engagement to tackle issues like transportation and crime.

Wrightson is a consultant with experience in budget analysis who wants a review of water and sewer rates and wants to reduce the budget for the mayor's office by 20 percent, according to his website. Duke is a certified financial planner who is calling for the city to keep the Georgia Dome and not tear it down to build a new Falcons stadium, according to his website.

For his part, Reed said he knows one of his weaknesses is moving with a sense of urgency.

"I have a very strong desire to get things done because I understand what a four-year term is," Reed said. "I would also argue that there were some things that I dealt with where urgency was needed.''

Polls will be open in Atlanta from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Stan Washington of The Atlanta Voice also contributed to this article. See candidate profiles at AV Politics.