Leave a comment

What do Ludacris, Common, Gabrielle Union, 21 Savage, Migos, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker all have in common?

No, they were part of a line-up of the latest awards show. They were just some of the national voices who weighed in on the Atlanta mayoral run-off race on behalf of candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms.

As the days wound down to the December 5 contest, Black America went on high alert, worried It was in danger of losing the South’s Black mecca–the only blue light of hope in the red state of Georgia.

Black folks in Atlanta have been here before. In 2009, current Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed faced a run-off race against the same candidate, Mary Norwood, the White affluent self-proclaimed independent candidate, who actually displayed strong leanings to the right. And just like in 2009, the run-off came down to the wire with Bottoms edging out Norwood by just 759 votes, similar to the 714 votes that made Reed mayor.

And just like after her last loss, Norwood demanded a recount after Tuesday’s election, holding off the official declaration. Being a sore loser comes with the territory for the candidate who faced attacks for her Trump supporting campaign treasurer.

Getting here wasn’t easy for 47-year-old Bottoms. The Atlanta native, who hails from the same high school named for Frederick Douglass as T.I., faced far more stumbling blocks Reed. The Florida A&M University alum and attorney waded through a sea of mayoral hopefuls that included 11 candidates–all Democrats, with the exception of Norwood. She won with 26 percent of the vote to Norwood’s 21 percent in the November primary to force a run-off.

2017 AC3 Festival - ChooseATL Welcome To Atlanta Reception Honoring Kevin 'Coach K' Lee And Angela Rye

Source: Prince Williams / Getty

Reed’s endorsement proved highly controversial for Bottoms. Norwood hammered away, charging massive corruption during Reed’s administration, citing a federal probe that has not directly implicated him, and claiming that Bottoms would be a continuation of the alleged bad behavior. Longtime outgoing Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who left under a cloud of corruption, until the day before the spirited 2009 general election.

Reed’s aggressive–some even charged bullying–style didn’t help his cause. As a result, the Howard University alum won a lot of enemies during his tenure, including Franklin, a one-time ally.

Is Atlanta in Danger of Losing its ‘Black Mecca’ Status?

So instead of an election about Bottoms and Norwood, Reed became the focal point. Emotions were so high that Reed’s main nemesis and outgoing city council president Ceasar Mitchell, who many thought would face Norwood, challenged him to a fist fight. In lieu of a brawl, however, Mitchell, whom Reed taunted at different points during the general campaign, didn’t sit out the endorsement phase of the election and crossed party lines to support Norwood.

Franklin, who declared Norwood incompetent in 2009, even crossed party lines. Citing ethics concerns, Franklin even stood at a press conference supporting Norwood over Bottomsa young African-American from the city’s predominantly Black Southwest side community where Franklin also lives.

Three other one-time Democratic mayoral candidates–a Black man, one White man and a white LGBT woman (with considerable support)–also backed Norwood. Former 2009 mayoral candidate and Reed opponent Lisa Borders, who backed him in that election, also publicly supported Norwood in the wee hours.

Bottoms appeared against the wall and victory seemed unlikely. Atlanta’s Black community was splintered and heated debates erupted on social media. Many well-connected Black Atlantans declared that they would vote for Norwood. 

Others were undecided. So Atlanta’s streak of Black mayors, going all the way back to Maynard Jackson’s historic win to become the first in 1973, seemed likely to end. Headlines blared the news: “Is Atlanta in Danger of Losing its ‘Black Mecca’ Status?’ “

Rolling Out writer A.R. Shaw published a controversial article about a secret recording of Norwood addressing the Buckhead Young Republicans in June, where she allegedly used “racially coded language.”

She made Black voter fraud claims against Reed, and used “felon” and “government assistance” in veiled descriptions of African-Americans. The recording garnered national attention in Black communities across the nation, even prompting Roland Martin to weigh in last week on NewsOne Now.

National reinforcements also came in the on-ground presence of U.S. senators Booker and Harris. Booker came to Bottoms’ campaign office before visiting church services that morning and Harris, a Howard Bison like Reed, showed up in the evening after the debate to throw her support to Bottoms, emphasizing how critical Atlanta was to not just Black America but to Democrats. Both Booker and Harris came to Atlanta in the midst of battling Trump’s GOP-backed tax plan.

Days before Killer Mike, who entered the national political arena by supporting Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton, publicly urged Black Atlantans to support their own. T.I. also made several appearances with Bottoms. Both Killer Mike, whose partner, El-P, in Run the Jewels is white, and T.I. have mass young white crossover appeal. They, not just civil rights leaders and elected officials, greatly impacted the outcome. And just after midnight, Bottoms, touting “Black girl magic,” took to the podium at her party and declared victory. 

Despite the recount, mainstream media has essentially declared Tuesday a victory for Black Atlanta, which did show up big time for their very own. But it was also a battle between old and new Atlanta. Bottoms would not be 759 votes victorious if it were not for the youthful hip-hop culture and Atlanta’s Black Hollywood and ATLWood status.

Atlanta’s young whites  as well as a lot of the gay community also helped Bottoms to that slim victory. Norwood, who led the crusade to destroy Atlanta nightlife in 2003 created a lot of young enemies and they didn’t forget this election. 

Like on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram

Share your email below to receive our daily newsletter!

What Really Went On Behind The Scenes In The Atlanta Mayoral Race was originally published on

Also On Black America Web:
Find Out What Your Favorite Celebs Did On Instagram (09/01-09/07)
10 photos

5 thoughts on “What Really Went On Behind The Scenes In The Atlanta Mayoral Race

  1. …and you, mynue, another pissed off white person who can’t stand to lose anything to a person of color. Get over yourself – – you and yours are soon going to fade away……….and that is your biggest fear!!

  2. another black affirmative action poS! due to a majority black population in that s-ithole atlanta they haven’t had a white mayor in 40 years. Yeah blacks aint racist all right. Black devils!~

  3. You know that white folks HATE to lose to a person of color.
    So there is no doubt that their will be a RECOUNT of votes just to
    appease the white woman.

    I hope that in the end, Ms. Bottoms is declared the WINNER!!!!!!!!!!

Add Your Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s