ATLANTA -- It's Déjà vu for mayoral hopeful Mary Norwood. With just over 100 days until votes are counted in the election for Atlanta's next leader, Norwood leads the crowded ticket. Among 18 candidates, 27% of likely voters said they'd vote for her if the election was today.
That number was more than double her closest competitor: 10% for City Council President Ceaser Mitchell.
Norwood was in that same top spot when she was running for mayor in 2009. In a much smaller six-person field, she defeated Kasim Reed 46% to 36%. Because no one met the 50% threshold, they went to a runoff. Reed beat her by about 700 votes.
Here's how the rest of the competition shapes up:
- Mary Norwood: 27%
- Ceasaar Mitchell: 10%
- Keisha Lance Bottoms: 9%
- Kwanza Hall: 9%
- Vincent Fort: 8%
- Peter Aman: 6%
- Cathy Woolard: 6%
- John Eaves: 4%
- Ten other candidates have 1% or less
The large field makes a run-off likely, so the real question is how support will split in a two-person race. Norwood leads among African American voters with 19%, compared to 15% for Mitchell and 14% for Bottoms. Norwood's support is older: she gets 38% of the vote among seniors.
"Norwood is ahead because she appears to be in the process of consolidating Atlanta's Republican vote," Political Science Professor Andra Gillespie said. "This is similar to the dynamic in the Georgia 6th. One side consolidates around one candidate. The other side can't consolidate around such a wide field. It doesn't mean that they won't; it just may happen later."
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The longer a likely voter is an Atlanta resident, the more likely they are to swing to Norwood's side. Hall and Mitchell tie among those who have lived in Atlanta less than 10 years. But among those that have lived in the city more than 30 years, Norwood gets three times the support of her nearest rivals.