Political Insider

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Bottoms calls in reinforcements: Booker, Harris stump for her mayoral campaign


Atlanta mayoral contender Keisha Lance Bottoms turned to high-profile national figures as she scrambles to consolidate Democratic support ahead of Tuesday's runoff to lead the city.

U.S. Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, both potential 2020 Democratic presidential contenders, held separate events across Atlanta on Sunday to support Bottoms in her race against fellow Councilwoman Mary Norwood.

At Bottoms’ campaign headquarters on Sunday morning, Booker implored Democratic voters to “keep the fire going” in the final days of the race.

“This is a Democrat, someone who is not afraid to talk about her values, and talk about the issues that are important now," Booker, a New Jersey senator, said in an interview. "She'll stand up to the president when necessary. She’s not going to soft-step, or soft-pedal, anything.”

The visits are part of a late push by Bottoms' campaign to rally left-leaning voters to her side in the final days of the race. And they may not be the last: Her supporters are also trying to lure in other big-name national Democrats for a Monday visit.

“We’ve always run this election as if we’re 50 points behind, because it’s all about getting out the vote,” said Bottoms. “I will never take that for granted, and I’m just going to keep pushing until 8 p.m. (Tuesday), and then we’ll watch the vote tally come in and celebrate the victory that we already know is ours.”

A poll released Friday by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV showed Bottoms has work to do: It pegged Norwood, who is running as an independent, to a 6-point lead and showed 42 percent of Democratic voters are backing her campaign, despite efforts from opponents to cast her as a closet Republican.

Harris is set to hold her get out the vote rally for Bottoms at 5:30 on Sunday in Midtown.

Norwood has come under sustained fire from the Democratic Party of Georgia and Bottoms’ campaign who are depicting her as a “closet Republican.” The state party unleashed a new round of attacks this week, including a TV ad that links her to the president.

Several prominent Democrats who back Norwood, including former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and ex-City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, criticized the party this week for supporting Bottoms, who has made her Democratic affiliation key to her campaign.

Norwood has long bristled at the attacks that she’s a closet Republican. She’s said she voted for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and calls herself a “progressive independent” who wants to maintain her political neutrality so she can better work across party lines.

You’ll find more on PoliticallyGeorgia.com, including these stories:

Democrats have yet to consolidate behind Bottoms, AJC/WSB poll suggests

Bottoms begins to distance herself from Reed in Atlanta mayoral race

Georgia Democrats divided over party’s role in hunt for mayor

Of ‘thugs’ and ‘coded language’ Atlanta mayoral candida tes clash in GPB debate

Metro Atlanta’s LGBT voters flex muscle, see power grow in new ways

With Atlanta mayor vote, a fabled bipartisan alliance comes to an end

A closer look at the big-name endorsements in the Atlanta mayor’s race

Atlanta mayoral hopefuls call for transparency. How do they measure up?


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About the Author

Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.