Atlanta city council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday night (Nov. 30) to become the city’s 61st mayor, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. With 63.7 percent of the vote, he surged past city council president, Felecia Moore, despite finishing second to her in the November general election, and ahead of former mayor, Kasim Reed.
Dickens, 47, a businessman and non-profit executive has been on the city council since 2013. He has served on the public safety committee and, with spikes in violent crime becoming a major political issue, he successfully campaigned on his plan to increase community policing and resources for law enforcement.
“We voted for progress and a problem solver, for a bridge builder, for transformation,” Dickens said in his victory speech Tuesday night, according to the Associated Press. “And this work will start right now. We can’t wait any longer to address these issues.”
After current mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced earlier this year that she would not seek a new term in the mayor’s office, a slew of candidates filed to run. Eventually the mayoral campaigns dwindled to 14 candidates. On Nov. 2, neither DIckens, Moore or Reed won a majority of the votes, and by election rules, the top two candidates were automatically sent to a runoff.
Moore initially led polls thanks to her popularity on the city council, but a more recent poll from the Journal-Constitution showed Dickens pulling ahead of her with several endorsements from former mayors and city council members.
In a live interview on Atlanta station WSB-TV Wednesday morning, Dickens outlined some of his agenda, which included making City Hall more accessible to the public, creating a better relationship with police and the community, and working more closely with the state legislature. But he also said he wanted to reunify the city with the Buckhead community, whose residents are trying to secede from Atlanta, citing crime and lack of city services. Legislation has already been introduced in the Georgia state legislature to do so.
“I want to make sure I relate with them,” he said, “talk about making sure that Buckhead stays in the city of Atlanta, and of course get this violent crime wave down.”
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In her concession speech, Moore thanked Dickens and at the same time acknowledged what lay ahead for Atlantans. “You all know and are all aware that we have some very serious challenges to face in this city,” she said. But she also sought to ease the disappointment of her supporters.
"For all of you, keep your head up high," she continued. "We all have the same thing that the people in the other room, where they're screaming and shouting in victory, have and that's a love for this great city."