The Atlanta Mayoral Race: Why We Should be Paying Attention

OPINION PIECE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Her Campus Agnes Scott.


Even though residents of Decatur will not vote in this election, it is still important that we remain informed about our neighbor, the City of Atlanta. With Mayor Reed’s term coming to an end, voting is already underway to find his successor. The contenders in the 2017 Atlanta Mayoral Race, nine in total, are veterans of the Atlanta political scene. Candidates, like Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood, are serving members of Atlanta City Council. All candidates have worked for either state or local government in Georgia, with decades of experience between them. However, that experience has proved to be detrimental as scandals have begun to arise close to election day.

Election Day on November 7th will determine the top two candidates for the nonpartisan mayoral race. The top two candidates will then run off for an election on December 5th. Current polls list Keisha Lance Bottoms as second to Mary Norwood. At third, Peter Aman has made it his personal vendetta to slander his female opponents. He has significant motivation: he’s spent over one million dollars of his own funds to win the election. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Aman has accused Bottoms of accepting unethical funds from various donors. However, evidence has not emerged validating his claim. Peter Aman himself has accepted donations similar to those in question by Keisha Lance Bottoms. The attacks raise questions about the treatment of women candidates, and especially Councilwoman Bottoms who is a woman of color. Ms. Bottoms has the official endorsement of Mayor Reed, however, she is still second in most recent polling.  

At first place in the polls is Councilwoman Mary Norwood. Although she may not have the endorsement of the presiding mayor of Atlanta, the Buckhead native is making her platform known during many campaign events. Yet, her vision of Atlanta may be different from many Atlanta natives. During a recent forum, Norwood failed to answer whether or not racial profiling was an issue in the Metro Atlanta Police. As an Independent, Norwood would be a starkly different leader than Mayor Reed. On the campaign trail, Norwood declined to answer whether or not she supported the current presidential administration. For a city that voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Democratic candidate in 2016, Norwood’s hesitancy leaves much to be answered.

Although we live in Decatur, Atlanta is a part of our home. We should be vigilant of local elections, especially the mayoral election. Millions of people and billions of dollars are at stake with this election. Those who were displeased with the results of the 2016 election should be paying attention to the 2017, 2018, and 2019 elections. If Councilwoman Norwood wins the election, she would be the first white mayor of Atlanta in decades. ATL is a city that I consider to be a home, and I do not like the changes I am seeing.

For more information, follow these link to the Atlanta Journal Constitution: