Atlanta Mayoral Candidates Prepare for Runoff Election

Tuesday’s election to determine Atlanta’s next mayor has come down to two candidates, both of whom are women. Candidates Mary Norwood and city councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms will go head to head in a runoff election on December 5th, as neither were able to garner enough votes to secure the mayoral position. Bottoms was able to gather 26% of the vote with Norwood following behind with 21%.

Election results courtesy of Atlanta Journal Constitution

In the days following the election, the two campaigns are turning to their fresh challenge: gaining the support of the 51,000 people who voted for somebody else. Norwood canceled a scheduled press conference on Wednesday and instead held a strategy session to figure out how her policies align with those of Tuesday’s candidates.

Going into the runoff, Bottoms is facing suspicions of possible connections to Atlanta City Hall’s corruption scandal. About a third of Bottoms’ funding comes from Atlanta airport vendors, according to Bloomberg Politics. Doubts about her funding sources come in light of a long history of airport vendors’ entanglement with Atlanta politics, including under-the-table deals and bribes. It doesn’t help that she has received the endorsement of Mayor Kasim Reed, who has become the face of the corruption investigations lately.

Norwood, who also sits on the City Council, ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2009 and has returned with much more success. She gained about 20,000 votes despite a  well-funded campaign led by the Democratic Party of Georgia to label her as a closeted Republican with strong GOP ties. Norwood self-identifies as Independent but has been reported to have a Right-wing connection and even has a staunch Trump supporter as her campaign treasurer.

Mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard, who gained third in Tuesday’s election with 17% of votes, is refraining from endorsing either candidate for the runoff. In a statement to Creative Loafing, Woolard stood by her campaign ideas and says she will host discussions between Norwood and Bottoms, “so the thousands of voters who supported me in this election can get clear answers about whether the remaining two contenders share our commitment to the values and vision that galvanized my supporters on Tuesday.” Details regarding these #FightingforATL conversations will come soon.

The two women will go face to face in the coming weeks in panels and debates in order to determine Atlanta’s next female mayor.