November 6, 2017 11:28 AM
Let’s play a fun game of “What If?” I cannot begin to predict who will make it to the run off because the field is so crowded in Atlanta’s Mayoral race. However, I am willing to predict a low voter turnout in this general election due to overwhelming number of candidates in the race. A low voter turnout will bode well for a candidate who came into the race with a strong following and got those people to the polls. Candidates relying on newly cultivated voters will have a harder time making it into the top two spots.
Since we cannot tell who will be the top two and the current polls seem skewed and unreliable, let’s imagine what a runoff election might look like in the City of Atlanta between the various candidates.
What if the run off is between Mary Norwood and Peter Aman?
Taking race out of the equation may require more Atlanta residents to compare the experience of the candidates. Is Peter Aman’s superior financing skills and business savvy more important to voters? Or will they care more about Mary’s longtime involvement in all of the Atlanta communities and experience on the council?
What if the run off is between Keisha Lance Bottoms and Ceasar Mitchell?
Again, race no longer a factor to distract from issues. Will people vote for keeping more of the same that they had under Kasim Reed by voting Bottoms? Or will voters look forward to the exact opposite and someone who has touted getting corruption out of city hall by voting Mitchell? Reed constantly reminds people that his favorability numbers in the City are higher than any mayor.   Will that translate to a win for Lance Bottoms? Or will that prove that the polling for the Mayor’s race and the polling for Reed’s favorability comes from the same unreliable source?
What if the run off is between Ceasar Mitchell and Kwanza Hall?
What factors distinguish these two men from one another? Both spent considerable time on council. Both will be able to tout their legislation over the years. They both will be able to discuss their community efforts and connections with the business community. Will Hall’s recent marijuana legislation push him over the edge? Will Ceasar’s city wide connections as Council President help him?
What if the run off is between Vincent Fort and Mary Norwood or Vincent Fort and Peter Aman?
Opposite ends of the political spectrum in either case. Will Vincent Fort’s Bernie Sanders connection get him over the hump? Will race become a deciding factor in either scenario? Will the Buckhead and business communities, who should be afraid of a Fort win, come out to the polls more than those who will benefit from Fort’s focus on the disenfranchised? Will the disenfranchised vote enough in the general election and run off to give him victory?
What if the run off is between John Eaves and any of the current council member candidates, Norwood, Lance Bottoms, Hall, or Mitchell?
Will voters choose “anyone except Atlanta” by voting for John Eaves? Will enough City of Atlanta residents connect with the work Eaves has done at the County level? Will the open County Commission seat push out enough Atlanta residents who are familiar with Eaves to give him a chance to get into the run off and succeed if there is not a County Commission run off?
What if the run off is between Kathy Woolard and anyone?
Will Atlanta’s growing LGBTQ community come out in support of Woolard as one of the first openly gay mayors of a major city? Will sexual identity become as crucial in the run off as race is in the general? Will a run off with Kathy allow her common sense approaches to governance stand out in a run off that is less busy than the general election? Has the “city too busy to hate” progressed with growing population of LGBTQ residents or is there still an undercurrent of bias that will push people to polls for anything but Kathy?
What is the run off is between Lance Bottoms and Norwood?
If the polling is correct, this is supposed to be the run off ticket. Will voters care that Lance Bottoms received two paychecks from the City and still did not pay her City water bill for several years? Will voters want a kinder, gentler, grandmotherly mayor in Norwood? Or are voters still interested in the bully pulpit Lance Bottoms touted throughout her career and this campaign? Will race be THE issue between the two candidates?
Maybe considering two unfavorable choices as run off candidates will encourage voters to show up to the polls tomorrow. What say you?