Political Notes — Can a Republican win the mayor’s race in a blue city?

[private]There has been a ton of speculation about whether the Atlanta mayor’s race will end with voters electing the city’s first white mayor in 44 years.

Mary Norwood, the leader in all the polls taken during this campaign, is of the Caucasian persuasion, as are Peter Aman and Cathy Woolard, who are both running strongly enough to have hopes of making it into a runoff with Norwood.

But the question you don’t hear raised that much is this: Could Atlanta voters, who tend to favor Democrats, elect the city’s first Republican mayor in Norwood?

In a long and fairly insightful piece on the race, Politico’s Max Blau says only that “Norwood is the closest this nonpartisan race comes to having a Republican.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s reporters tend to tip-toe around the subject, not quite willing, for whatever reason, to declare openly that Norwood is a Republican.

In a recent posting, for example, Jim Galloway wrote: “Today, the Democratic Party of Georgia launched a full-scale online attack against another mayoral candidate, Mary Norwood, labeling her ‘Mary the Republican.’ The effort labels her a far-right conservative who has a web of connections to GOP figures.”

Galloway notes that the Democratic Party is “labeling” Norwood as a Republican, but he can’t seem to bring himself to say definitively that Norwood is one.

This reporter will say it definitively: Mary Norwood is a Republican.

Municipal elections are non-partisan, which means that no candidate declares their party affiliation for the ballot. Thus, Norwood has officially run as a non-partisan candidate in three elections for the city council (2001, 2005, and 2013) and in a failed race for mayor in 2009.

In 2010, however, when the election was partisan, Norwood tried to qualify as a Republican candidate for the Fulton County Commission. She missed out on that race because she didn’t get her papers submitted prior to the 12 noon deadline on the last day of qualifying.

The fact that she attempted to qualify for the Republican primary in a partisan race is really all the proof needed to nail down Norwood’s party affiliation. But there’s more.

On Jan. 18, 2013, the Fulton County Republican Party named Norwood as one of their two appointees to the Fulton County Elections Board.

“We selected Mary because she is an independent thinker and independent voter,” said Roger Bonds, who was the Fulton GOP chairman at the time, in a news release. “We believe that voter integrity isn’t a Left or Right, Republican or Democrat issue.”

But here’s the thing: in this polarized period of American history, county election boards are crucial to a party’s future, because the boards are often called upon to make decisions that could throw a party’s candidate off the ballot.

No Republican Party organization is going to appoint an “independent” to a county election board — they are going to appoint a loyal Republican that they know they can rely upon. Similarly, no Democratic Party organization is going to appoint an independent to an election board — they will appoint a loyal Democrat. That’s simply a matter of party preservation.

When you consider all of that recent evidence, it’s clear that Norwood is a Republican — which is certainly her right as an American citizen. If she should win the upcoming race, she will be not just the first white mayor in decades but a Republican mayor of a Democratic-leaning city.

Whether or not the local media wishes to acknowledge it.

Banks County secession?

The northeast Georgia county of Banks wants to secede from the Piedmont Judicial Circuit and join the next-door Mountain Judicial Circuit that now includes Habersham, Rabun and Stephens counties.

It seems that Banks County is not comfortable with its current neighbors of Jackson and Barrow counties. As reported by the Northeast Georgian:

[State Rep. Dan] Gasaway said Barrow and Jackson counties are changing rapidly, “becoming more like suburbs of Atlanta,” while Banks is not changing.

Banks County has a population of fewer than 18,000 people while Jackson County has approximately 60,000 residents and Barrow County has almost 100,000 people.

Gasaway said he has spoken with both House Speaker David Ralston and Gov. Nathan Deal about the matter. He also said he does not anticipate a change would impact other judicial circuits.

Abrams endorsement

The Daily Kos website, one of the most influential sites for Democratic Party activists, has endorsed Stacey Abrams in the Democratic primary for governor.

Said Daily Kos:

“Stacey Abrams has the potential to usher in a new era in the Democratic Party, in Georgia and in the United States, one that is diverse and fully reflective of our country’s demographics and the demographics of our base. She is a consistent champion of the most marginalized, with a clear vision for creating a government that works for all people.”

Daily Kos was an early supporter and raised significant amounts of early money for Jon Ossoff in the special election this year in the 6th Congressional District. Can the website also pump money into the Abrams campaign?

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Banks County , Daily Kos , judicial circuit , Mary Norwood , republican party , Stacey Abrams