As early voting began Monday, former mayor Shirley Franklin endorsed Mary Norwood in the city’s runoff race for mayor.
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Norwood faces fellow city councilmember, Keisha Lance Bottoms, next Tuesday.
Franklin, who is African-American, was the first woman to be elected as mayor of Atlanta.
“For me, race was not the first issue,” Franklin said outside of Atlanta City Hall. “Character, transparency and integrity are the first issues for me.”
She said some have raised questions about her decision.
“Some of my friends who’ve known me for a long time say this might hurt my legacy because I’m supporting a white woman over a black woman, but I think that’s yesterday’s news,” Franklin said. “We live in a diverse society. We live in a society where people are able to represent us from all kinds of backgrounds.”
Franklin said she was looking for the city to move forward from ethics issues. Two former city vendors have pleaded guilty to paying money to get city contracts, and the city’s former chief procurement officer has pleaded guilty to conspiracy. The federal corruption investigation is ongoing.
“I’m concerned about the investigation, I’m concerned about the convictions. I believe Mary is frontal and aggressive on that issue,” she said.
Former mayoral candidate Peter Aman, who finished in fourth place in the Atlanta mayoral race, also endorsed Norwood Monday alongside Franklin.
Meanwhile, Bottoms has gotten the endorsements of former mayor and UN ambassador Andrew Young, current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, as well as some prominent state Democrats.