Political Notes — Woolard endorses Norwood in mayoral race

[private]Cathy Woolard made the long-awaited announcement Wednesday morning of her endorsement in the Atlanta mayoral runoff — she’s giving her support to Mary Norwood over Keisha Lance Bottoms.

She said she was endorsing Norwood in large part because she thought Norwood would do the best job of continuing construction of the Atlanta BeltLine, which has been one of Woolard’s pet issues.

Woolard finished third in the Nov. 7 balloting with 17 percent of the vote while Bottoms and Norwood both pulled less than 30 percent support in what has become a tight race to succeed Mayor Kasim Reed (who’s backing Bottoms).

A poll released Tuesday by Fox5 Atlanta showed Bottoms leading Norwood by 41.5 percent to 38.7 percent, but with nearly 20 percent undecided.

The Opinion Savvy poll of 500 registered voters had a 4.4 percent margin of error, which means that Bottoms’ lead was within that margin.

In addition to being a close race, the Atlanta mayoral runoff has split significant factions of the state’s Democratic Party.

The party has mounted a campaign offensive against Norwood, who claims to be an independent, that attacks her as a Republican. Bottoms has taken a similar tack in her campaign, positioning herself as the “real Democrat” in the race.

However, some of the city’s top Democratic figures have announced their support of Norwood, including former mayor Shirley Franklin and City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor.

Franklin said her endorsement was spurred in part by the ongoing federal investigation of corruption in Reed’s City Hall.

“I’m concerned about the investigation, I’m concerned about the convictions,” Franklin said. “I believe Mary is frontal and aggressive on that issue.”

Another prominent Democrat, attorney Steve Labovitz, has denounced the Democratic Party for its campaign against Norwood.

“The Party’s decision to smear Mary Norwood as ‘Trump like’ reeks of the same political tribalism practiced by the man you’ve sought to tie as a millstone around her neck,” Labovitz said in an email to party Chairman DuBose Porter.

“It is the height of hypocrisy, a gross misuse of party funds, and a decision that lowers us to the level of Republicans who most recently pushed Karen Handel into Congress, not on the back of sound policy proposals, but by putting Jon Ossoff’s face next to Nancy Pelosi’s in a sexist and misleading television spot,” Labovitz contended.

The election is six days away on Dec. 5.

Looking toward 2018

Upcoming legislative races in Sandy Springs and Brookhaven have attracted Democratic candidates for two Republican-held House seats.

Democrat Josh McLaurin, an attorney, says he will run for the District 51 House seat in Sandy Springs that Wendell Willard has held for the past 17 years (Willard has already announced his retirement). Republican Alex Kaufman, also a lawyer, had already announced his candidacy.

In Brookhaven’s District 80, incumbent Rep. Meagan Hanson is being challenged by Democrat Matt Wilson, yet another attorney.

District 80 has become one of the most competitive legislative districts in Georgia. Hanson, a Republican, defeated Democratic incumbent Taylor Bennett in 2016 after Bennett won what had been a Republican-held seat.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: 2018 House races , Atlanta mayor\'s race , Cathy Woolard