ATLANTA -- The two candidates for mayor spent much of Monday cooling their heels in the Atlanta city council chamber on this final day before tomorrow’s vote. Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood were embroiled in a lengthy city council meeting – the last one of the year.
It was a quiet close to a pretty noisy month in the runoff campaign that is due to conclude when voters go to the polls Tuesday.
Keisha Lance Bottoms joined three dozen supporters outside city hall before she slipped into the council chambers for the afternoon.
Her backers described Bottoms as the race’s only authentic Democrat in a city where Democrats prevail—and her opponent Mary Norwood as being too close to Republicans and the president. "This is about us being authentic. And I think that will be on the top of people's minds when they go and vote," Bottoms said in an interview.
Over the weekend, Bottoms had rallied with national Democrats including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). It was meant as a counterweight to endorsements Norwood had received from prominent Atlanta Democrats like former Mayor Shirley Franklin and former candidates Ceasar Mitchell and Cathy Woolard. Monday, Norwood also claimed the support of civil rights activist Markel Hutchins.
"When we look at the need for real transformation in Atlanta, we need to look beyond race and see the character of these individuals," said Hutchins, an African American. Norwood is white. Bottoms is black.
"We’ve had just an incredible two weeks, with endorsements and support from all over the city," Norwood said. "It has just been a groundswell of people." Data from Fulton County indicates 29% fewer people participated in the early voting in the runoff compared to the general election. The early voting period lasted only one week for the runoff, compared to three weeks in the general election.