Atlanta’s next mayor will be a woman. It will either be Keisha Bottoms or Mary Norwood, the two top vote-getters out of a field of 11 candidates in Tuesday’s election. Voters will pick between the two and in other races that ended in a round-off, Dec. 5.
Bottoms who had been polling second in the polls in recent weeks came in first with 26 percent of the ballots, 25,347 votes. Norwood picked up 20, 144 votes (21 percent) of the ballots cast.
If elected Norwood would become the first white mayor in 40 years and the first white female mayor. Both of them would be the second female mayor elected since Shirley Franklin who served for two terms.
The challenge facing the two runoff opponents now is to try and convince most of the 53 percent of the voters who did not vote for either of them.
Bottoms said she plans to reach out to the other candidates.
“We had a wonderful issue in this city where we had a number of qualified candidates. I look forward to reaching out to each of them and asking for their support,” Bottoms said during a TV interview the day after the election.
One of her main priorities as mayor, Bottoms said is to improve the city’s public education system.
“When we talk about our traffic patterns and where parents chose to live, when we talk about people’s ability to get jobs and people to fill our workforce and our public safety issues are all tied into education,” Bottoms said. “I look forward to working with the Atlanta Public Schools and our other partners in strengthening education in our cities.”
At her election night party, Norwood told supporters she will once again campaign across the city from the northside to the southside.
“All throughout this campaign we have had double-digit support throughout every part of this city. That is the new Atlanta,” Norwood said.
When asked how she intends to win over the supporters of her opponents who didn’t make the run-offs, Norwood said, “We are going to be out all across the city as we have always been. My campaign has always been one of 100 percent inclusion. We have a diverse campaign. We reflect the 21st century Atlanta.”
Increase public safety will be a top issue she will tackle once she assumes office, Norwood said.
Both candidates said they don’t believe that race is the main determining factor for voters.
The evening’s surprise was that former city council president Cathy Woolard (16,134/17 percent), former city executive Peter Aman (10,924/11 percent) and state Sen. Vincent Fort (9,310/10 percent) came in third, fourth and fifth ahead of city council members President Ceasar Mitchell (9,124/9 percent) and Kwanza Hall (4,192/ 4 percent).
Coming in at a disappointing eighth spot was John Eaves who gave up his seat as chairman of the Fulton County Commission. Eaves received only 1,202 votes or 1 percent. Eaves was in his second term as chairman when he decided to run in August.
With four sitting city council members running for mayor and three other sitting council members running for president of the council, there was bound to be some new faces on the council next year.
New faces will occupy the seats of Bottoms, Norwood, Ceasar Mitchell and Kwanza Hall who ran for mayor. C.T. Martin, Alex Wan and Felecia Moore ran for city council president.
Wan (38 percent) and Moore (35 percent) will vy in a run-off for the president position. Martin, the longest-serving councilmember came in third.
In Wan’s former District 6, Jennifer Idle defeated Kirk Rich with 69 percent of the vote. In Moore’s old seat, District 9, Kwame Abernathy and Dustin Hillis will be in a run-off.
In District 10, Martin’s longtime seat, Andrea Boone won overwhelming with 77 percent of the vote.
Revisiting the seats vacated by councilmembers who ran for mayor, Bottoms’ 11th District seat is still up for grabs as Harold Hardnett and Marci Overstreet survived a field of eight to get into the run-off. Matt Westmoreland claimed Norwood’s Post 2-at large seat with 64 percent of the vote. For Hall’s District 2 seat, Amir Farokhi survived a field of five candidates to win without a runoff.
Incumbent District 4 rep, Cleta Winslow finds herself in a run-off against Jason Dozier. Incumbent council members Joyce Sheperd, Howard Shook, Natalyn Archibong, Ivory Lee Young, and Carla Smith, all survived without a run-off. Incumbent Michael Bond had the toughest fight of the night bearing edging out former Atlanta Board of Education member Courtney English, 41,079 to 40,714.
In District 4, Kathryn Flowers and Natalie Hall survived a field of six to get into a runoff. For the Fulton County Commission chair, political veteran Robb Pitts is in a runoff with Keisha Waites.
Atlanta Board of Education Races
There was no drama at all in the races for seats on the Atlanta Board of Education.
In District 1, incumbent Leslie Grant defeated Ade Oguntoye. District 2, incumbent Byron Amos was re-elected over Keisha Carey.
District 5 will feature a runoff between Erika Mitchell and Raynard Johnson. District 6 incumbent Eshe Collins easily beat three other opponents.
In District 7 at Large, Kandis Jackson is in a runoff with John Wright. In District 8 at Large, incumbent Cynthia Brown was re-elected without a runoff.