Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

In Atlanta’s mayoral runoff, Keisha Lance Bottoms borrowed Kasim Reed’s playbook


Eight years ago, former state senator Kasim Reed beat Mary Norwood in the Atlanta mayoral runoff by 714 votes – out of 84,000 or so cast.

The parallel doesn’t end there.

Atlanta’s electoral dynamics can be defined by three camps: GOP-friendly Buckhead to the north, the African-American power base of south Atlanta; and Midtown/east Atlanta, a zone of more liberal white Democrats and the center of the city’s LGBT vote.

Eight years ago, Reed’s formula was simple: Run up the score in south Atlanta, and don't get skunked in east Atlanta. He didn’t have to win the latter territory, but he couldn’t concede the vote. He didn’t.

Precinct-by-precinct returns have yet to come, but Bottoms apparently worked the same formula for her victory – if Atlanta-in-DeKalb votes are any guide.

Mary Norwood carried Atlanta-in-DeKalb with nearly 58 percent of the vote, leaving Bottoms with a respectable 42 percent. By contrast, in the race to become president of the Atlanta City Council, Alex Wan took 66 percent of the Atlanta-in-DeKalb vote.

But you can’t win Atlanta with one-dimensional appeal. Wan still lost to Felicia Moore, who took nearly 57 percent of the Atlanta-in-Fulton vote. Bottoms, by contrast, mustered only 51 percent of the Atlanta-in-Fulton vote in the mayoral contest. But her decent showing in east Atlanta saved her.

Click here for specifics, but below is the AJC map of who won where. Bottoms majorities are in blue, Norwood's are in green:

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Mary Norwood pushed back every chance she could get at claims she was a "closet Republican," but she  drew plenty of GOP figures to her campaign party. Among them: State Sen. Brandon Beach, 11th District GOP Chair Brad Carver, former state Rep. Melvin Everson and GOP strategist Seth Weathers, who runs Michael Williams campaign for governor. Williams also made an appearance later in the night. (Greg Bluestein)

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Atlanta wasn’t the only city that decided that the time wasn’t right for a racial shift in its politics. In Roswell’s mayoral runoff, Lori Henry trounced Lee Jenkins, 55 to 45 percent. Jenkins, a local pastor, was attempting to become the city’s first African-American mayor.

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For other election results in metro Atlanta, click here. Some highlights:

-- A trio of LGBT candidates was defeated, souring what many thought might be a season of growing influence within metro Atlanta’s political landscape.

As mentioned above, Atlanta city council president candidate Alex Wan was bested by Felicia Moore, leaving the council without an openly gay member for the first time in about two decades.

Fulton County Commission chair contender Keisha Waites was soundly defeated in her contest.  And De’Andre Pickett, who was vying to be the fifth LGBT member of the Georgia House, also lost his bid for public office.

And in the race for mayor, Mary Norwood had been endorsed by Georgia Equality, the preeminent gay rights organization in the state, as well as former Atlanta city council president Cathy Woolard. Neither endorsement was enough to carry Norwood over the finish line. (GB)

-- On the other hand, women candidates as a whole had a good night in races across metro Atlanta. There was one notable exception: Robb Pitts defeated former state Rep. Keisha Waites in an all-Democratic runoff to lead the Fulton County Commission, helped by support from Republicans in north Fulton. (GB)

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And here’s a Twitter message from Seth Clark, an advisor to Stacey Evans, a Democratic candidate for governor, ">hinting at 2018 implications in Atlanta's mayoral results:

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This morning, Time magazine named women “silence breakers” as its person of the year:

Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don't even seem to know that boundaries exist. They've had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can't afford to lose. They've had it with the code of going along to get along.

And yet there are those that think the outrage is being unfairly distributed. From Politico.com:

The stunning fall of Democratic Rep. John Conyers — who resigned Tuesday amid a growing sexual-harassment scandal — has left confusion, anger, resentment and bewilderment inside the ranks of the Congressional Black Caucus, a group that Conyers helped found nearly four decades ago.

Many CBC members see a double standard at play. They won't say the treatment of Conyers is racist, necessarily — and all express strong support for his alleged victims — but they think white politicians accused of similar misconduct like Blake Farenthold, Al Franken, Roy Moore and Donald Trump get a "benefit of the doubt" that black politicians don't enjoy.

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Former state Rep. Brian Strickland won't have a cakewalk in his quest to succeed Rick Jeffares in the Georgia Senate. Democrat Phyllis Hatcher is running for the McDonough-based seat vacated by Jeffares, who is running for lieutenant governor. The special election is set for January.

Hatcher ran for office for the first time last year, emerging from a field of nine Democrats as the second-highest vote-getter in the race for a Rockdale County commission seat. She was defeated by a Republican in the runoff.

Hatcher told the Rockdale Citizen she plans to run as a bridge-building Democrat who can "work together across the aisle and make true changes." Strickland, a Republican, resigned last week to seek the job and enjoys Jeffares' endorsement. (GB)

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The NAACP is bristling at President Donald Trump's plans to attend the opening of a new civil rights museum in Jackson, Miss.,i over the weekend.

The president's record on civil rights is "abysmal," NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a searing statement on Tuesday. “He has created a commission to reinforce voter suppression, refused to denounce white supremacists, and overall, has created a racially hostile climate in this nation."

"His attendance is an affront to the veterans of the civil rights movement," Johnson added.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday called planned protests against Trump and his visit "very sad." “This should be something that brings the country together,” she said. (Tamar Hallerman)

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The U.S. House , meanwhile, is gearing up for a big vote later today on legislation that would hand the National Rifle Association its biggest victory so far this year. The legislation would grant reciprocity rights in states with concealed carry gun laws. Click here for CNN's take.

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Yesterday we told you about a Florida Congresswoman’s tribute to our WSB radio colleague Jamie Dupree from the House floor. Dupree has since posted to his blog explaining what life has been like for a radio journalist who can't talk:

What is wrong with my voice?  It’s complicated.

My official diagnosis is a rare neurological condition known as “Tongue Protrusion Dystonia” – for some unknown reason when I try to talk, my tongue pushes forward out of my mouth, and my throat clenches, leading to a voice that is strangled and strained, as it is a struggle to string together more than a few words at a time.

Let’s just say this – other than some simple one syllable words – it is not a voice that is suitable for radio, let alone for normal social conversation.

We're with you, Jamie. (TH)

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Concerns are being raised about one of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's would-be top deputies. Politico.com reports that Stephen Vaden, the Trump administration's pick to be the department's top lawyer, has provoked bitter labor negotiations and crumbling worker morale since he arrived as a deputy counsel. Vaden is not the first of Perdue's would-be colleagues to be questioned. Sam Clovis, who had been nominated to be USDA's top scientist, withdrew from consideration last month after questions were raised about his scientific credentials and potential connections to the ongoing Russia probe (TH).

 

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A hearty congrats to U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, R-Tifton, who  welcomed a new baby boy into his family this week:

 


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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.