Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall on Tuesday endorsed Keisha Lance Bottoms over Mary Norwood in the mayor’s race.
Hall, so far, is the only mayoral candidate who lost this month’s election to publicly support one of the two city councilwomen in the Dec. 5 runoff.
Hall made the announcement standing in the John Wesley Dobbs Plaza with his wife Natilie — who’s also in a runoff in the Fulton County District 4 commissioner race.
Hall said Norwood and Bottoms “are really good individuals, but the finest of the two is standing right beside me.”
Now that the crowded field of candidates had narrowed, Hall said he would help Bottoms refine her message — a process that revealed itself during Tuesday’s press conference.
Hall said that Mayor Kasim Reed is leaving the city in a financially strong position but now Atlanta needed “to accelerate exponentially the addressing of inequality, as well as addressing the issues that bring families and children out of poverty, out of the margins and into the mainstream of our city.”
Themes of poverty and inequality resonate with progressives — a large block of liberal voters that could swing the election.
When Bottoms accepted the endorsement, she borrowed a line from Hall’s campaign: “We have been great about building buildings, but not so great about building people.”
In most of the city, the vote will likely break along racial and geographical lines. But the so-called “in-town” neighborhoods, some of which are in Hall’s district, are up for grabs, Hall said.
Former City Council President Cathy Woolard, who placed third in race, dominated in those areas. Woolard and former state Sen. Vincent Fort were widely considered the most progressive candidates.
During the campaign, Hall criticized the Reed’s administration’s handling of city contracts, saying that too many corporations had been feeding at the city trough for too long.
Bottom’s campaign has by far received the most donations from people and entities competing for a package of retail contracts at Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International Airport.
Asked how he reconciles his endorsement on Tuesday with his previous statements, Hall said: “It’s legal for any vendor, contractor or business to make contributions to candidates. They make them at the city level, state level and national level. That’s not fair to hit anyone on … If I would have got some of their donors, I probably would have been in the runoff.”
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