Examining The Results Of The Atlanta Mayor’s Race

Keisha Lance Bottoms supporters celebrate results Tuesday night.
Keisha Lance Bottoms supporters celebrate results Tuesday night.
Credit Kaitlin Kolarik / WABE

The race for Atlanta mayor will come down to a runoff. City council members Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood will meet in that election on Dec. 5.

Neither of them captured the simple majority needed to win outright. Bottoms took 27 percent of the vote. Norwood took 21 percent. And Cathy Woolard came in third with 17 percent.

For a look inside the results and at where Bottoms and Norwood go from here, Denis O’Hayer spoke with Oglethorpe University political scientist Kendra King Momon on “Morning Edition.”

On the geographical divide between support for Bottoms, Norwood, and Woolard

It tells us two things. The first thing is that we still have a racialized city with the north/south divide, with Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms. I think what you’re seeing on the east side is people who are saying: “We want to be represented in terms of the issues, in terms of the things that matter to us that transcend race.” They may include race, but they transcend race.

On the importance of Woolard in the runoff

Cathy Woolard is going to be a game-changer in the election. [Bottoms and Norwood] are going to need to galvanize her [Woolard’s] support and not just her support, but the voters who voted for her as well.

On whether campaign issues will change during the runoff

I think in a runoff, especially because it’s this close, people are going to be looking at what the candidates are going to do in the first 100 days in office. I think people are looking for: what’s going to happen with this federal case lingering over city hall?  What is this new leader going to do to change the face of Atlanta?

On the implications that the top three finishers were women

I think women are saying something. In some respects, you have a remix of [Hillary Clinton’s] “I’m With Her” that came over into the 2017 mayoral election. But we’ve seen it nationwide as well, in terms of the role women have played in putting Democrats back into office. So, I think this is a critical time. I was actually surprised that Woolard came in third, because what she did was knock out four male candidates with strong name recognition.

On the other biggest surprise in the election

I really was surprised that [Ceasar] Mitchell didn’t make it into the runoff, to be quite honest. He’s had the most money from the beginning, had some strong endorsements. So, I think that was a disappointment.

Where Bottoms and Norwood go from here

Both go to Cathy Woolard. It’s a no-brainer: Cathy Woolard and her supporters across the city. We need a united Atlanta, not a divided Atlanta.

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