In Atlanta, where Mary Norwood was poised to become the city’s first White mayor in more than three decades, 40-year-old African-American attorney Kasim Reed gained momentum in the final days to win a runoff election by a razor-thin margin Tuesday.
Norwood, 57, still has refused to concede the election, saying that the closeness of the race demands a recount, which is her right under Atlanta law, since the apparent loss was by less than 1 percent. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Reed led Norwood by 758 votes out of a total of more than 83,000 cast – a margin of 0.92 percent.
“It is my hope tonight that we will unite this city and make Atlanta the city shining on a hill,” Reed told about 300 supporters at the Hyatt. “Tomorrow we have hard work to do to make Atlanta the best city in America.”
But an unrelenting Norwood told supporters Tuesday night, “This is not something we will know in the next 15 minutes. . . . Tomorrow, we will see how this all turns out.”
When asked about her opponent’s victory speech this morning, Norwood spokeswoman Zee Bradford said, “I didn’t see it, so I can’t comment.”
Reed, who won late endorsements from such high-profile Black leaders as former Mayor Andrew Young, civil rights leader Rev. Joseph Lowery and baseball icon Hank Aaron, campaigned on hiring 750 police officers in his first term, fixing the pension crisis and providing more after-school activities by opening all of the city’s recreation centers.
Norwood, who ran strongest in the city’s largely White precincts in north Atlanta, had spent at least a quarter-million dollars on advertising. She had hoped to avoid a runoff, since Reed and fellow Black candidate Lisa Borders were forced to divide the African-American vote in the general election. Norwood won the general, collecting 46 percent of the vote, but since no candidate won a majority of the votes cast, the runoff was mandatory.