Mayor’s race, four legislative seats are up for grabs on Tuesday

[private]The winners of a hard-fought Atlanta mayor’s race and four vacant seats in the General Assembly will be decided in runoff elections held on Tuesday.

The Atlanta race is down to two city council members, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood, who are battling to be the successor to termed-out Mayor Kasim Reed. They both came out of the Nov. 7 balloting with less than 30 percent of the votes in a crowded race.

Bottoms has the support of Reed and of the Georgia Democratic Party, which has mounted an ad campaign that criticizes Norwood for being a Republican (Norwood describes herself as an independent).

In the days before the runoff, however, Norwood has drawn the endorsements of several other candidates who fell short on Nov. 7: third-place finisher Cathy Woolard, City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, Peter Aman, and former Fulton County commissioner John Eaves.

Former mayor Shirley Franklin, who’s been feuding with Reed for quite some time, also threw her support to Norwood.

Independent polls show that Bottoms has the edge over Norwood, although those leads are within the margin of error.

If Norwood should win the runoff, she would be the city’s first white mayor in 44 years. It would be a significant defeat for “The Machine,” a political organization that has backed successful black candidates for mayor going back to Maynard Jackson in 1973.

On the legislative side, there are four runoffs for vacant seats, each of which involves two Democratic candidates.

Senate District 6

This seat was held for nearly three terms by Republican Hunter Hill, but it will now pass to one of two Democrats on Tuesday: attorney Jen Jordan or pediatric dentist Jaha Howard.

The five Republican candidates running on Nov. 7 split the vote sufficiently to allow Jordan and Howard to slip into the runoff; Jordan had 24.5 percent of the votes to 22.5 percent for Howard.

This has been a big-money race as legislative campaigns go. Jordan had raised $394,000 in her latest campaign disclosure filing. Howard hasn’t submitted a report since before the first round of voting, but even then he reported raising $317,000,

Howard is the more conservative candidate: he was forced to apologize several weeks ago for posting anti-gay and misogynistic views on social media outlets. Organizations like the LGBT group Georgia Equality and Planned Parenthood have endorsed Jordan.

Senate District 39

Nikema Williams, an officer with the state Democratic Party, and paralegal Linda Pritchett are vying to replace Vincent Fort, who left the state Senate to make an unsuccessful run for mayor of Atlanta.

A District 39 voter tried to have Pritchett tossed off the ballot on the grounds that Pritchett allegedly lied about not having a felony offense in her background.

The Secretary of State’s Office said Pritchett pleaded guilty in 2006 to a misdemeanor offense of larceny — not a felony — in Fairfax County General Court in Virginia and would stay on the ballot.

House District 89

Whoever wins this DeKalb County House seat will automatically add to the diversity of the House of Representatives.

That’s because the two Democratic candidates are Bee Nguyen, whose parents are Vietnamese, and Sachin Varghese, the son of Indian immigrants.

Nguyen formerly worked for the Georgia Budget & Policy Institute and now runs an education non-profit. Varghese is an attorney. The runoff winner will replace former House minority leader Stacey Abrams, who is running for governor.

House District 60

Kim Schofield and DeAndre Pickett are running to replace Keisha Waites, who resigned her seat to run for the Fulton County Commission. Schofield had a 36-45 percent advantage over Pickett in the Nov. 7 voting.

Schofield is an Emory University researcher, while Pickett is a former middle school teacher. Both Democrats have reported raising less than $10,000 in this low-budget race.

© 2017 by The Georgia Report


Tags: Atlanta runoff elections , legislative runoff elections