Atlanta mayoral field set as candidates face city in transition


The field of candidates to be the next mayor of Atlanta was set Friday, but the winner will more than likely be decided in a runoff instead of the general election.

Nine major candidates emerged from qualifying — traditionally seen as the unofficial kickoff of the campaign season — to succeed Mayor Kasim Reed, who is in the final months of his two terms in office.

The Nov. 7 election comes at a critical junction for the city, which is trying to balance tremendous growth in jobs, development and population with concerns that the divide between the haves and the have notes is growing.

The contestants — which include City Hall insiders, those who used to work for Atlanta government and a state senator — will face an electorate that is different than it was when Reed was elected in 2009. Voters also are more worried this time around about housing affordability and gentrification — not the recession Reed faced during his first term — along with the usual Atlanta problems of traffic congestion, taxes and schools.

The candidates also will campaign against a backdrop of an ongoing federal probe of alleged bribery at City Hall. The investigation has been quiet for the most part this summer, but some fear it could ignite in the middle of the race. Reed has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

William Boone, an associate professor of political science at Clark-Atlanta University, said any revelations linking the investigation to specific office seekers would most likely clear the crowded deck.

“(Those candidates) may decide to rethink their decision,” Boone said of anyone ensnared in the probe.

Demographics may make it easier for Atlanta to elect its first white mayor in four decades. The large number of African American candidates could split the black vote just as Atlanta’s ratio of white voters has reached around 44 percent, the experts said.

“There are many, many people who want to see (black mayoral leadership) continue at least symbolically,” said Harvey Newman, professor emeritus at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. “And yet none of the African-American candidates are willing to concede to any of the others … and everybody just forges ahead.

“The ultimate irony would be if that resulted in the emergence of two white candidates in the runoff pool,” he said.

The mayoral candidates include state Sen. Vincent Fort, Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood, former Atlanta Workforce Development Agency director Michael T. Sterling and former Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves.

In addition, Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard and former city of Atlanta COO Peter Aman qualified.

The remaining mayoral candidates are Rohit Ammanamanchi, Laban King, Carl A. Jackson and Glenn S. Wrightson.

The candidates who qualified for Atlanta City Council President are Felicia Moore, Alex Wan and C.T. Martin.

In the city council race, 30 people qualified to run for six seats vacated by the decisions of Hall, Bottoms, and Norwood to run for mayor and by Moore, Wan, and Martin to seek promotion to council president. City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean also is vacating her seat. Each of the remaining city councilmembers also qualified and all have challengers except Andre Dickens.

There are 16 Atlanta City Councilmembers, including the Council President.

MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.

The AJC's Leon Stafford keeps you updated on the latest in the Atlanta mayoral race and everything else going on at City Hall. You'll find more on myAJC.com, including these stories:

Never miss a minute of what's happening in Atlanta politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

‘We never give up’: Police intent on solving murder of Gainesville teen
‘We never give up’: Police intent on solving murder of Gainesville teen

Five years after Gainesville High School student Hannah Truelove was found fatally stabbed near Lake Lanier, her death remains a mystery that police expect to one day solve. “Understand, we never give up,” Lt. Dan Franklin of the Hall County Sheriff’s Office told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently. Truelove’s body was...
Gang member sentenced for killing Cobb father during 2015 robbery
Gang member sentenced for killing Cobb father during 2015 robbery

Almost exactly two years after a Mableton father was shot to death, one of his gang-affiliated killers was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Darius Jarrell Dunn, 25 of Austell, was sentenced Thursday on malice murder and other charges in the death of 23-year-old Anthony Terrell Tavarez. Dunn was the third and final suspect to be...
2 hospital employees in N. Fulton helped hundreds of Harvey victims
2 hospital employees in N. Fulton helped hundreds of Harvey victims

Two Emory Johns Creek Hospital employees returned to metro Atlanta recently, after helping with recovery efforts in Texas from Hurricane Harvey. Roland Tam and Angelina Trinidad treated about 500 people, they say, inside a high school gym that flipped into a “makeshift emergency room” near Beaumont, Texas. The duo volunteers for the Georgia...
Bragbook for Sept. 22

Annslee Tokar of Starr’s Mill High School won the gold medal for the second year in a row in the senior division of the Teach and Train event at the Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America Conference in Tennessee. Ruth Marsh of Atlanta placed second at the United States Tennis Association Girls’ 16s National Clay Court Championships...
DeKalb CEO Thurmond to give water billing update
DeKalb CEO Thurmond to give water billing update

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond will detail progress made toward addressing the water billing crisis during an update meeting 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at Maloof Auditorium, 1300 Commerce Drive, Decatur. Before the meeting, DeKalb County water billing representatives will be available to assist customers with new water billing disputes and general water billing...
More Stories