Recount looms in too-close-to-call Atlanta mayor’s race

ATLANTA (AP) — The race for mayor in Atlanta early Wednesday was too near name, with one candidate declaring herself the town’s new chief and the opposite vowing to request a recount.

The margin was razor-thin, with a number of hundred votes separating Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood.

Bottoms spoke early Wednesday at an Atlanta resort, saying close to the tip of her speech that “I’m simply in awe of what God is ready to do.”

“I’m so honored to be your 60th mayor,” she instructed her cheering supporters.

But Norwood took the rostrum at her personal rally and mentioned that absentee ballots from army members had been but to determine within the totals, and she or he believes some ballots have but to be tabulated.

“We will probably be asking for a recount,” Norwood mentioned.

Just 759 votes separated the candidates early Wednesday morning, Norwood instructed supporters.

Bottoms led Norwood by a margin of lower than 1 p.c, which is the edge the place the second-place finisher can request a recount beneath state regulation.

The contest between Bottoms, who’s black, and Norwood, who’s white, was seen as a take a look at of the endurance of a long-dominant black political machine amid profound demographic and financial modifications.

Both girls are Atlanta metropolis council members. Norwood calls herself an unbiased and Bottoms is the chosen successor of outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed.

A victory for Bottoms, 47, would proceed a run of African-American mayors that started with Maynard Jackson within the mid-1970s.

A win for Norwood, 65, would give Atlanta its first-ever white feminine mayor, and finish the Democratic Party’s maintain on an workplace it has held with out interruption since 1879.

A half-century after white flight led to sprawl that fueled legendary site visitors jams, Atlanta is booming economically and rising at a breakneck tempo, with townhouses and flats going up in vacant heaps throughout city. Parts of the town are extra various, youthful and wealthier than they’ve been in years.

Political analysts have mentioned African-American voters will finally decide the end result, however lots of the metropolis’s most formidable challenges transcend race. Everyone appears to care about transportation, public security and inexpensive housing. As rents and residential costs soar, some longtime residents wrestle to remain of their neighborhoods, and face no simple commutes in the event that they transfer out.

“We’re behind the occasions by way of having a contemporary transportation system in comparison with what you see in New York or Washington,” mentioned Kendra A. King Momon, professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.

“It impacts high quality of life as a result of most of us don’t know what we’re going to run into once we head into the town,” she mentioned of Atlanta’s infamous site visitors jams. “That’s an enormous difficulty that we’ve to deal with.”

An enormous query is whether or not an ongoing federal probe of corruption in metropolis contracting beneath Reed’s watch will encourage voters to take a contemporary have a look at Norwood, regardless of fears that as an unbiased who lives within the upscale Buckhead space of the town, she’ll grow to be a stealth Republican who will serve up City Hall to Georgia’s deep-red political equipment.

As voters went to the polls Tuesday, none spoke brazenly of race.

“Just listening to Keisha and evaluating what she mentioned to the phrases of Ms. Norwood, I felt like she shared my values extra,” mentioned Barbara McFarlin, a 50-year-old black lady who lives within the southwest Atlanta district Bottoms has represented on the town council.

James Parson, a 49-year-old black man who additionally lives in Bottoms‘ district, mentioned he’s been buddies with Norwood for 3 a long time and appreciates how she’s made herself out there to constituents all around the metropolis as an at-large council member.

“I really like that Mary is linked to many of the communities in Atlanta, if not all of them,” he mentioned. “She’s approachable. She has been right here. She’s no Johnny-come-lately.”

Atlanta’s final white mayor, Sam Massell, left workplace in 1974 and was succeeded by 5 African-American mayors within the subsequent 4 a long time: Jackson, Andrew Young, Bill Campbell, Shirley Franklin and Reed. Regardless of who wins, Atlanta could have its second feminine mayor, following Franklin who left workplace in 2010.

Jeffrey Brower, 45, a white man who lives within the East Atlanta neighborhood, mentioned he voted for Norwood, however that his vote was extra a vote towards Bottoms and Reed. Bottoms is just too near Reed and can be like an extension of the present administration, he mentioned.

“Kasim gave the impression to be extra about what’s finest for Kasim than what’s finest for the town,” Brower mentioned.


Associated Press writers Kate Brumback and Errin Haines Whack contributed to this report.


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