The Coming Battle for Atlanta

Now that the spectacle of the special election runoff for Georgia’s 6th District is over, prognosticators and pundits are turning their eyes to the next big thing: Atlanta’s Mayor’s race. They’ve been mostly silent during the the two-month tsunami of advertising on TV and radio -although Peter Aman has been making some smart moves, namely getting in a round of commercials before the Handel-Ossoff tv commercials drowned out everything else.

Jim Galloway notes that Aman has scored a key endorsement from City Councilmember Yolanda Adrean, who represents Atlanta’s 8th district. As Galloway points out, “District 8 is in the northwest corner of the city, comprising the western half of Buckhead down to Atlantic Station. This is the district where at-large city council member and mayoral candidate Mary Norwood lives.” Interesting, but it’s not the whole story. 

The conventional wisdom on Mary Norwood is that it was Buckhead (i.e. wealthy and Republican) support that put her within a few hundred votes of beating Kasim Reed in the Mayor’s contest in 2009. But insiders know that while Norwood’s financial support may come from wealthy parts of Buckhead, a lot of her votes came from southwest Atlanta -a region of the city that is much less wealthy, and much less white, than tony Buckhead. And while the most recent poll in the race was conducted March 8, and may be a little stale, it nonetheless showed Norwood out in front with 28% to Aman’s 1.8%, IIR.

So Adrean’s endorsement is, as we say, a “good get” for Aman. She told Galloway: “(Aman is) the kind of leader who can take us through the complexities of one of the Southeast’s largest economies. It’s a huge job that involves working with leaders from the neighborhood level, county, state and all the way up to the White House… I think Peter has the gravitas to operate in any of those arenas.” 

Aman has obviously started clearing the field and turning a crowded contest into a two-person race. He’s gone from from a rounding error to a respectable showing -possibly even second after Norwood. For a man who was virtually unheard of when this contest began to have earned the endorsement of a sitting city council member (who represents the leading candidate) in a matter of months is a testament to a well-run campaign.

Neither candidate would be a bad choice for Atlanta’s future. Aman has an impressive resume and experience in pulling the levers that make the city work. But Norwood is just as qualified and has a record (that is rare in Atlanta politics) of being able to bridge the city’s racial divide, which may be a far more necessary skill than working across the political aisle.


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You don’t want to get labeled the Republican candidate in a city that gave Clinton 81 percent of the vote last year—thus, a mayoral candidate seeking GOP support in the city would rather operate more “covertly”.