Political Insider

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

The Jolt: Dismal turnout could roil predictions in Atlanta mayoral race

Only about 20,000 of 250,000 registered voters cast early ballots in Atlanta's mayoral election, a likely sign of dismal turnout for today's vote to succeed Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

A veteran strategist sent us an analysis of the early votes that showed the racial gap was narrow. About 46 percent of early voters were African-American, while 42 percent were white.

A late WSB-TV poll, released on Friday, showed Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms leading Councilwoman Mary Norwood for the first time – but with only 25 percent of the vote to Norwood’s 23 percent. Which is statistically insignificant.

It's probably that an emphasis on corruption in City Hall and the raft of candidates have combined to reduce interest in the contest. Low turnout can negate a poll by putting the result in the hands of on-the-ground turnout specialists.

Norwood could be a beneficiary in a low-turnout scenario – given that her Buckhead base skews to older, white voters. So could former state senator Vincent Fort, who has locked up most of the city’s unions – which provide essential door-knocking foot soldiers.

Cathy Woolard, the former council president, also has emphasized a ground game.

Polls won’t close until 8 p.m., which means results will be somewhat late.

One more thing: This mayoral race has been marked by Mayor Reed’s efforts backing Bottoms as his successor. We would point you to one other race that involves a Reed-backed incumbent – being challenged by a candidate actively endorsed by former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin.

Incumbent Post 1 at-large Councilman Michael Julian Bond, who has been seen at Reed’s side at events, faces former Atlanta school board chair Courtney English, who has dispersed ads carrying endorsements from Franklin.

If Bond does well tonight, there’s a good chance that Bottoms will, too. And vice versa. (Jim Galloway and Greg Bluestein)


This morning, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed posted this chart of leading candidates to replace him on his Facebook page. Which is unusual, to say the least -- and will no doubt generate many protests among those pictured.  But if you read this in a larger context, Reed, too, is conceding that tonight's results could be unpredictable. He's saying four candidates have a chance tonight:


The Huffington Post posits that Atlanta mayoral candidate Vincent Fort's campaign could offer a "populist model for Democrats eager to avoid a false choice between universal progressive policies and solutions tailored to the needs of specific communities." Read the whole piece here.


We told you on Friday about a robo-call that hit Atlanta homes on Friday, urging votes for mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms in order to preserve African-American control of City Hall. Bottoms quickly denounced the robo-call as racist and denied that it came from her camp. She asked Attorney General Chris Carr to investigate.

Late Monday, the AG's office replied with a letter that said he had referred the matter to the body once known as the state ethics commission. In part:

While the attorney general is disturbed by these allegations and any interference or improper actions in relation to this or any other election, the oversight of these issues has been entrusted to the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission.


Georgia Right to Life is renewing a push for state lawmakers to define embryos as constitutionally protected persons following a decision last week by the Georgia Supreme Court, in which justices decided not to take up a lower court ruling that denied a Peach County woman’s right to custody of three frozen embryos achieved through in vitro fertilization – over the objections of her husband.

From a court-produced synopsis of Wendy Wilson v. Rommel Delgado:

The two signed a consent form stating that the embryos were joint property and that upon dissolution of marriage a court would control the fate of the embryos. The clinic was able to create five viable embryos, two of which were transferred into Wilson’s womb. In May 2013, she gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. The couple subsequently separated and in 2014, Wilson filed for divorce.

One of the issues during the divorce was who would have custody of the three remaining embryos. She claimed she had always intended to give birth to them, that they are her children’s siblings, and that she views them as her “children.” He, however, said he wanted no more children, even if she released him from any financial or other responsibility.


Officials from the Savannah port will be pounding the pavement on Capitol Hill this week to push members of Congress for more funding to deepen the river channel. Container traffic increased at the port by nearly a third in October, setting a new monthly record, but the deepening project is still fighting for the feds to hand out their promised $640 million in moolah faster. The Trump administration’s latest funding proposal in May was only about half of what port officials wanted for the upcoming budget year. (Tamar Hallerman)


We told you last week about Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s renewed push to axe the federal green card lottery program in the aftermath of the recent terrorist attack in New York City. Part of his reasoning is that the program has been abused and often plagued by fraud. Politifact vetted the claim yesterday and agrees that it’s “mostly true.”

"The State Department did not provide data on how widespread fraud is within the program, but fraud issues have been documented for many years," Politifact wrote. "Some of the fraud involves organized groups entering individuals into the lottery without their consent and then extracting money from them in exchange for a confirmation number needed for the visa application process." (TH)


Let’s go ahead and say that U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Atlanta, isn’t a fan of the House GOP’s tax plan. "> He tweeted Monday that the "spiteful, irresponsible tax cut is not worth the paper on which it was written."


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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.