Atlanta mayor's race in a runoff

Atlanta mayor's race in a runoff

November 5th, 2009 in Opinion Free Press

Atlanta has a tradition since 1973 of electing black candidates for mayor of the big capital of Georgia. But this year there was - and still is - a question.

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin could not run because of a two-term limit. Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who is white, became a candidate, along with numerous black candidates. Inevitably, race was an issue, though a quiet one, along with the economy, public safety and open government.

Voter turnout Tuesday was light. Councilwoman Norwood won 46 percent of the votes - short of the 50 percent-plus-one needed for victory. She said, "I am really focused on winning this campaign - tonight or 27 days from now."

State Sen. Kasim Reed won 36 percent of the votes. He said, "I will fight for you. I will stand up for you and we will make Atlanta the city on a hill again."

City Council President Lisa Borders ran third, with 14 percent. She said, "I am conceding the race. I'm not going to talk about endorsements tonight."

So the choice of Atlanta's new mayor remains up in the air - until a runoff election takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 1.