ATLANTA -- The mayor's race runoff next month will pit two members of the city council against each other. Both are women, but beyond that there are some sharp contrasts. Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood both made the runoff. The question is, who can get the most votes from the supporters of the other defeated candidates.
The contrasts between Norwood and Bottoms may start with race. Norwood is white, Bottoms is African American. But for many undecided voters, that may be among the least important issues.
Though councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms got the most votes Tuesday, her work begins anew. Bottoms and councilwoman Mary Norwood, who finished second, will be vying for the support of voters like Kyle Keyser.
Keyser, who was on the 2009 ballot for mayor, was a volunteer for Cathy Woolard this past election. Woolard did not make the runoff.
"I genuinely don’t know," Kaiser said a few hours after the votes were counted. "Maybe we can stop asking the question of who’s black, who’s white, who’s Republican, who’s Democrat, and go beyond the identity politics and just say, who’s most qualified."
Part of Bottoms’ identity is that of a Democrat, supported by the lame duck mayor Kasim Reed. She spoke on 11Alive’s Morning Rush at daybreak Wednesday.
"What I would say is the city has made tremendous strides over the last eight years. Our crime rates are down. We are financially sound," Bottoms said.
Norwood identifies not as a Democrat but as an independent – well aware that vocal Republicans rarely succeed in Atlanta politics.
"My views, as they are being measured by independent sources, say that I am a progressive Democrat in my views," Norwood said on Morning Rush Wednesday. "I am the inclusive candidate of this city."
But voters will have to weigh that themselves. More than nine thousand of them supported Vincent Fort, who also lost Tuesday. "It’s not just about the label 'Democrat,'" said Fort, a Democratic leader in the state senate before he resigned to run for mayor. "It's about, what are the issues that you support, what have you done and what will you do?"
Reed, who supports Bottoms, told us Tuesday he thinks Bottoms has the edge in the runoff because Democrats will be motivated to vote by national politics. Reed barely beat Norwood in 2009's runoff.