Political Insider

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

Stacey Evans to endorse Keisha Lance Bottoms in Atlanta mayoral runoff

You’re about to witness the birth of a partnership that could carry deep into the 2018 Democratic race for governor.

A cryptic note arrived from the campaign of Atlanta mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms on Monday evening, plugging a next-day “joint announcement regarding the future of Atlanta.”

Allow us to explain how this might work: Bottoms is locked in a tight Dec. 5 mayoral runoff with Mary Norwood. Norwood can lay claim to Buckhead and Atlanta’s largely white north side. Bottoms will dominate south Atlanta and its cache of African-American votes.

East Atlanta becomes the swing factor, and thus the battleground. On Monday, you saw Bottoms endorsed by former state Sen. Jason Carter, the 2014 Democratic candidate for governor, a popular figure in that territory. State Sen. Elena Parent, who replaced Carter in the Legislature endorsed Bottoms, too.

An endorsement from Stacey Evans would be yet another signal for east Atlanta and Atlanta-in-DeKalb.

Now let’s flip the script and note the benefits for Evans. In that 2014 race for governor, Carter struggled to get an endorsement out of incumbent Mayor Kasim Reed, who had a tight partnership going with Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican.

A mutual endorsement this morning takes that problem off the table for Evans.

The other Democrat in next year’s race for governor is Stacey Abrams, the former House minority leader. Abrams has moved to the left, and focused much of her campaign on African-American women, the largest and most reliable demographic in the Democratic party, whether state or national.

Evans will need prominent African-American women to help make her case next year. She may have found an important one this morning.


Updated at 10 a.m.: Atlanta President Ceasar Mitchell will endorse Mary Norwood for mayor at 2 p.m.  today. Details to come.


A Monday interview with Atlanta mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms was ended by a brawl in the nightclub where she was speaking with longtime journalist Maynard Eaton. Neither Bottoms nor Eaton were involved, but Bottoms was hustled away from the fray. 11Alive has the video here.


Former Atlanta mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard, who finished third in this month’s first round of voting, has set the date for a staged meeting with the two remaining candidates. Her endorsement is presumed to hang in the balance. Again, think east Atlanta.

The event Woolard has dubbed “#FightingForATL: A Conversation About Issues, Values and Vision” will be held at the Carter Center next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Click here to register for the event.

That will be a busy day for Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood. Earlier next Tuesday, at 2 p.m., they'll both be on a special edition of GPB's "Political Rewind." It'll be on 88.5 FM in Atlanta, and livestreamed across the rest of the state.


The two candidates in the Atlanta mayoral runoff made consecutive appearances on Monday on the 53rd floor headquarters of Dentons, the law and consulting firm. We’ll have more on what Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood said later, but we’ll offer two highlights now.

Bottoms appeared first. In the question-and-answer portion, she was asked how her leadership style varied with incumbent Mayor Kasim Reed, who has endorsed Bottoms – but also has a well-deserved reputation for volatility.

Bottoms was careful. She started out with this often-used line:

“In January, there will be a new mayor in the city. There’s one mayor at a time in Atlanta. Mayor Reed and I have very different personalities…”

And then she said this:

“We are two completely different people, and the way that I deal with conflict is, I try and not have it rise to the level of conflict. Meaning that I don’t have a problem picking up the phone, making a proactive telephone call, and I don’t have a problem saying when I’m wrong.”

Not that other people aren't just as reasonable, she quickly emphasized:

“This is not to say this is Mayor Reed’s style. This is more a description of what my style is….

“I don’t have a problem apologizing, I don’t always have to be right. And I don’t always have to be the loudest voice in the room. But what I can tell you is that I’m fair, that I’m firm, and that I listen.”

Not that certain other people don’t, she hastened to add.

Norwood followed a few minutes later. She focused on the “prolific” corruption at City Hall, and promised the crowd – many of them Denton clients prominent in business – an overhaul once elected:

“I will be the clean break,” she said. And in case you missed it the first time, she said it again. And again. And again:

“I want to make sure that I put the experts around the table, and draw on our business community…I want good people. I want the best people we can get to run these various departments in the city. And I want to let them run them without interference…

“We can’t fix this around the edges. It’s got to be a clean break. Absolute, clean break. I am the person that will give you that clean break.”


Atlanta Councilman Alex Wan picked up another key endorsement in his bid for council president. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, who earlier endorsed C.T. Martin, backed Wan in the Dec. 5 runoff against Councilwoman Felicia Moore. He said Wan has "the inclusive vision Atlanta needs to navigate this crucial time in our history."(Greg Bluestein)


Republican Michael Williams has become the first candidate for governor to oppose a proposal that would bringing sweeping pay increases to the governor and Georgia lawmakers. Via press release, the state senator said he wouldn't support pay hikes until lawmakers live up to a promise of "limited government, lower taxes and fiscal responsibility."

He added: "It doesn't take a business degree to know that under-performing employees don't deserve raises." Williams was responding to a recommendation from a panel to boost the pay of state lawmakers from $20,000 to $43,000 in 2019. The panel was formed by lawmakers last year in legislation that raised the governor’s pay to $175,000 from the current $139,000 in 2019. (GB)


Over at the NBC News website, U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., has a piece boosting the GOP effort to remake “America's awful tax code.” It begins thusly:

First, within the United States, we don’t have a level playing field across all industries. I led two Fortune 500 companies. One of them, Dollar General, today pays an effective tax rate of 37 percent. The other, Reebok, pays an effective rate of 19 percent.

This is not because of loopholes exploited by these businesses. It is an amalgamation of 100 years of Washington toying with the tax code to incentivize certain industries without ever revisiting whether these incentives actually accomplished their intended goal, or were still relevant...

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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.