Atlanta Mayor: A Tale of 759 Votes

On Tuesday December 5th, 759 votes determined who would sit in one of the most powerful mayoral positions in the country. Over 90,000 Atlanta residents turned out on a cold rainy election day to determine which woman would serve as the mayor of Atlanta for the next four years. Mayor-elect Keisha Lance Bottoms declared victory early Wednesday morning to an 0.8% lead to her opponent Mary Norwood. However, since the margin is so small, Mary Norwood has requested a recount, elongating one of the most contentious mayoral races in Atlanta history.    

(Image via Giphy)

Mayor-elect, Keisha Lance Bottoms was considered the underdog for much of the Atlanta race. Polling second to her white opponent, Mary Norwood, until the weeks leading to the general election in November. For months, many Atlanta natives were afraid that the city would see their first white mayor since 1974.  

Mayor-elect Keisha Lance Bottoms. Image via Wikimedia

Mayor-elect Bottoms and Norwood, both Democrats, campaigned on similar policy issues. From public safety to traffic (#Atlantatrafficistheworst), both women were consistent with Atlanta concerns. What determined this election was racial polarization and the number of voters. Although the candidates had similar platforms, neighborhoods voted primarily along racial lines (see Atlanta Journal Constitution's breakdown of Results). Unless the recount provides alternate results, Ms. Bottoms will be inaugurated in January of 2018. In this election, every single vote was important. That is why participation in local elections is so important. 759 votes enabled Ms. Bottoms to win, and allowed a 45 year legacy of black leadership in Atlanta to continue.

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