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Mayor Reed Wins Easily Dickens Upsets Willis

By Stan Washington | 11/8/2013, 6 a.m.
Voters in Atlanta kicked out three long-term incumbents Tuesday, Nov. 5, in a low-key political race that saw Mayor Kasim ...
No Stress. No Worry: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, right, stands by his campaign manager Meredith Lilly, bottom, while tracking election returns in a campaign room before making an appearance at his election night celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, in Atlanta. Reed easily defeated three unknown challengers. Photo by Curtis Compton AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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City Council President Ceasar Mitchell who was re-elected without opposition.

Voters in Atlanta kicked out three long-term incumbents Tuesday, Nov. 5, in a low-key political race that saw Mayor Kasim Reed easily defeat a challenge by three opponents.

When it came to the Atlanta mayoral race, there was no mystery, no suspense and no drama. The question was not whether Reed would be elected as mayor, but how large of a margin would he beat his three unknown and underfunded opponents?

In a virtual cakewalk, Reed garnered 84 percent of the vote cast in the four-man race. It almost didn’t seem fair as the mayor carried every precinct in the city. Reed’s opponents had lost the race even before the race began. It is extremely difficult for a political unknown (even three of them) to unseat an incumbent mayor with an overall good record.

But Reed didn’t take his opponents lightly and pummeled their campaigns with a barrage of TV, print ads and mailers.

Reed said, during his next administration, he will be focusing on the details which will help the city to operate “more efficiently and effectively.”

“We have to put in place a more comprehensive plan for our infrastructure. The city is crying out for that,” Reed said. “We have about a $900 million backlog. We need to improve the feel and look of our city not that we have stabilize our finances.”

If one of the goals of mayoral candidates, Al Bartell, Frasier Duke, and Glenn S. Wrightson was to become more known politically, they also failed miserably in that department. Maybe, Reed’s margin would have been even larger if he hadn’t pissed off so many street vendors and their families.

City Council approved a new street-vending ordinance Monday, Nov. 4, just as Reed was about to be cited for contempt of court.

After he cast his ballot, Reed told reporters that he is not anti-street vending but he was just trying to fix a problem that he inherited.

“What we’ve done is put in a place a best-in-class program in less than six months which was a six year problem,” Reed said. “I hope that folks understand that I don’t have anything against vendors at all. It’s a problem I didn’t create and we’ve put in a problem that will rapidly get people back to work.”

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Nearly everyone wanted a photo with the new council-elect member Andre Dickens.

Atlanta City Council Races

Reed’s political steamroller however did not extend to the City Council race of his political ally, the embattled H. Lamar Willis, who was one of two incumbents on the council to lose. Political newcomer Andre Dickens shocked the recently disbarred lawyer with nearly 53 percent of the vote to Willis’ 47 percent.

Willis was disbarred this year for pocketing the settlement of a client, and previously came under investigation for irregularities in the operation of his charity.

This race for the Post 3 At-Large seat brought the only heat in a rather laid-back campaign season in the city. Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin supported Dickens, pitting her against her former campaign manager Reed.

It was a party atmosphere at Manuel’s Tavern where Dickens and his supporters held their election watch party. The mood was festive all night, as the results showed Dickens with a lead that he never relinquished.