Cathy Woolard Holds Atlanta Mayoral Forum Before Endorsement Decision

Cathy Woolard, who finished third in the Nov. 7 general election for Atlanta mayor, plans to announce today whether she’ll endorse a candidate -- Mary Norwood or Keisha Lance Bottoms -- in the Dec. 5 runoff.
Credit Eboni Lemon / WABE

Today, Cathy Woolard plans to announce whether she’ll endorse a candidate in the Dec. 5 runoff for Atlanta mayor.

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Woolard came in third in the Nov. 7 general election, with 17 percent of the vote. She held a forum Tuesday night to help her decide between Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms.

The forum was a lot like Woolard: Calm, to the point and wonky. In front of an audience of a few hundred, she pressed the two candidates on policies she would have pursued in office, such as transit expansion.

“I did make building those five transit lines a priority as part of my campaign platform. Do you agree with that?” Woolard asked.

Overall, Bottoms and Norwood seemed eager to please. For example, after the transit question, both answered yes. And Bottoms even complimented Woolard.

“Cathy, you know that I talked quite a bit during the course of the campaign about how thoughtful your policy was in many areas,” Bottoms said.

Then in a question about tax incentives for Amazon, Norwood basically offered Woolard a job.

“If I get to be the mayor, will you come and negotiate that deal with me with Amazon?” Norwood asked.

“We’ll see,” Woolard responded.

Still, Woolard seemed to have issues with both candidates. She questioned Norwood’s understanding of race in Atlanta, pointing to a response Norwood gave earlier this year about police and profiling.

“When you hesitated at the forum on the question about racial profiling, you really gave people pause,” Woolard said.

Norwood has said her hesitation was misrepresented. And with Bottoms, Woolard brought up transparency. She talked about how Bottoms was both a City Council member and head of the Atlanta Fulton County Recreational Authority.

“I think it is illegal for you to have served as executive director of the Atlanta Fulton Rec Authority,” Woolard said, to applause from the audience.

Bottoms maintained she followed the guidance of the ethics office.

After Tuesday’s forum, Woolard said she still didn’t feel confident she’d make an endorsement.

“I don’t. I must say, it’s a very, very difficult decision,” Woolard said.

Whatever her decision is, she said she’ll present it at 10:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Cathy Woolard decided to endorse Mary Norwood in the Atlanta mayor’s race.