Andre Dickens, Felicia A. Moore advance to runoff for Atlanta mayor
"While Moore, 60, was long viewed as a front-runner in multiple polls, Dickens, 47, began to gain momentum in the final days of a race in which many voters were undecided until close to the very end.
Moore, president of the City Council, received the most support with nearly 41 percent of the vote and told Atlanta’s CBS affiliate that her campaign was focused on the next phase of the race.
“We just keep moving, we are moving, getting on the ground making sure that volunteers are ready to go, energizing our supporters, fundraisers,” she said Wednesday. “Everything we’ve done before we’re going to double it down.”
Dickens, an Atlanta native who received 23 percent of votes, ended election night telling his supporters that he was living his dreams.
“I’m standing right here with John Lewis over my shoulder about to pull off an upset and get into the runoff,” he said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
No candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote, forcing the runoff.
Atlanta, like many major American cities, has experienced a crime spike that dominated the race. It has recorded at least 125 homicides this year, a 15 percent increase compared to the same time last year and a 63 percent increase compared to two years ago. Several of the killings were especially heinous, including the brutal stabbing death of a 40-year-old woman who was walking her dog in a popular Midtown park.
But another major issue emerged: Reed. Reed’s bid to win back his old job has been dominated by questions about corruption that surrounded his tenure in City Hall. A half dozen of his aides have either pleaded guilty or are awaiting trial on charges ranging from accepting bribes to tax fraud. The former two-term mayor has not been charged, and Reed’s lawyers have insisted that he is not under federal investigation.
But his opponents in the race, as well as some influential Atlantans, said the lingering ethical questions made him unsuitable to lead the city as it seeks to calm roiling economic, social and political crises. The question of who can lead and protect Atlantans — including a Black population that has been a backbone of its progress over the past 30 years — dominates discussions as the city is at what some say is a political and cultural crossroads.
Ultimately, slightly more than 22 percent of voters supported Reed.
The head of the city’s NAACP chapter, which historically has not taken sides in mayoral contests, apologized after being rebuked by the national NAACP for urging residents to vote against Reed.
“Atlanta can and must do better than elect Kasim Reed again,” Richard Rose said, due to his concerns about Reed’s ethics and his close relationship with the police union.
“We really need a mayor who is a visionary,” said Oscar Harris, 78, a retired architect who over the past 40 years has helped design more than $4 billion in projects that helped Atlanta transform itself from a sluggish Southern town into powerhouse American city. “The growth is happening so fast,” said Harris, who is Black. “We’ve got to know where we are going, and the next mayor has to be in front directing that.”
Concerns including some residents of a once-affluent Black neighborhood wanting to break off from the city, a growing homeless population in part due to a lack of affordable housing and poor city services have led some to wonder if the best days of Atlanta — long viewed as a national leader in Black political and economic strength — are behind it.
Voters will have the chance to decide who can help the city move forward in the Nov. 30 runoff election.
Tim Craig and Vanessa Williams contributed to this report."