On Dec. 5, Atlanta voters were nearly divided down the middle on their choice for a new mayor. While Democrat Keisha Lance Bottoms offered a victory speech, Independent candidate Mary Norwood was demanding a do-over claiming that her fight is not yet over.
“We will be asking for a recount,” Norwood said according to CNN.
Had Norwood won the election, it would have marked the first time in 40 years that the city would have voted in a White mayor. Norwood has been here before. She ran against current Mayor Kasim Reed in 2009 and lost by a slim margin. A recount in that election only confirmed her defeat.
While the state of Georgia is largely a Republican state when it comes to national elections, the city of Atlanta has a tradition of local government representation that reflects the racial makeup of its predominantly Black Democratic population. Bottoms was endorsed by notable figures from all walks of life who wanted to protect local interests. Incumbent Mayor Kasim Reed, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, singer Usher, rappers T.I. and Killer Mike, and activist Shaun King.
Bottoms’ campaign branded Norwood a Republican masquerading as an Independent who refused to denounce Donald J. Trump. Norwood used Reed’s endorsement of her opponent as a way to garner support from those who were unhappy with his administration.
P R E S S P L A Y ▶️▶️ Tomorrow is the day!!!! STAND WITH KIESHA PLEASE ATLANTA. WE NEED THIS…. THE FUTURE OF THIS CITY DEPENDS ON YOU AND YOUR VOTE! IF YOU ENJOY THE “black Wall Street” CLIMATE OF ATLANTA, GA PLEASE SHOW YOUR APPRECIATION BY FORWARDING THE VOTE THAT WE HAVE WORKED 40 YEARS TO CONTINUE. #standwithkeisha . . . DISCLAIMER: ITS NOT ABOUT HER BEING REPUBLICAN ITS ABOUT HER BEING SHADY ABOUT IT 🤧#shadyboots #marynorwood
CNN reported that gentrification of Atlanta made it possible for such tight mayoral races in recent years. In 1990, Atlanta was 67 percent Black which by 2015 had dropped to 52.9 percent. Some have argued that elections in Atlanta are all about race, but former mayor and United Nations ambassador Andrew Young said that there is much more to consider.
“It’s never been just about race,” Young said. “But race is the easiest thing to point to. But it leads you astray.”
He said that the city needs a “mayor with international vision and grassroots credentials. You’ve gotta have a certain amount of street cred.” Young believes that Bottoms has both.
“Because it’s within the 1%, we will be asking for a recount.” Here’s the moment #MaryNorwood announced she would ask for a recount in the #ATLMayor race after learning only 759 votes separated her and her opponent, #KeishaLanceBottoms. Hear her full speech on 11Alive.com #Election11 #ElectionDay #Atlanta #MayorRace
So while Bottoms will start planning for her transition into her new post at City Hall, Norwood will be waiting for that recount. She says that it will days before the election is actually decided and will not concede until every last vote has been verified. But Bottoms’ win is a victory for those who wanted to preserve the city’s heritage, and it looks like they will–at least for now.