By JEFF AMY, Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) — Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is attempting to return for a 3rd time period and City Council President Felicia Moore is looking for to maneuver as much as the highest spot as voting concludes Tuesday within the metropolis’s mayoral race.
Confronting rising crime has been a significant focus, however candidates have additionally addressed issues about inexpensive housing, bolstering struggling metropolis providers and retaining the rich Buckhead neighborhood from seceding. Attacks on Reed over corruption in his administration have been a significant subplot, though Reed says the federal investigation concerning him was closed with out expenses.
With a complete of 14 candidates within the nonpartisan race, a Nov. 30 runoff is probably going. Other prime candidates embody legal professional Sharon Gay and council members Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown, with massive numbers of voters undecided.
Meanwhile, Republicans are waiting for any errors in Atlanta that would justify a state takeover of elections in closely Democratic Fulton County, underneath a sweeping new state legislation authorised amid unproven claims of fraud by former President Donald Trump and his allies.
The race was jolted when Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced in May that she would not search a second time period. Bottoms broke a decades-long custom of mayors serving eight years, saying she wasn’t occupied with a reelection bid. The final Atlanta mayor who served solely a single time period was Sam Massell, who misplaced to Maynard Jackson in 1973 as African Americans took energy in metropolis authorities.
About 45,000 individuals voted early by way of Thursday, largely voting in-person. That’s almost half of the 97,000 votes forged within the first spherical of the 2017 elections. Bottoms later edged out Mary Norwood by 832 votes in a runoff.
Like cities throughout the nation, Atlanta is seeing a rise in homicides. As of Oct. 23, murders had been up 13% over the identical interval final 12 months and 58% in contrast with 2019, Atlanta police knowledge exhibits. Several high-profile killings have captured consideration, together with a girl stabbed to demise late at night time in Atlanta’s most outstanding park and a bartender kidnapped and shot lifeless whereas returning house from a late shift.
Reed, who served two four-year phrases starting in 2010, left workplace amid a federal investigation into corruption at City Hall. A half-dozen members of his administration have been indicted. Some pleaded responsible and others await trial. Reed was by no means charged, and his legal professionals stated federal prosecutors instructed them in August that the inquiry into Reed had been closed. Federal prosecutors haven’t commented on that declare.
Others argue that even when Reed wasn’t indicted, the truth that a lot malfeasance occurred throughout his tenure ought to disqualify him. In an Oct. 12 debate hosted by the Atlanta Press Club, Moore stated Reed led “probably the most corrupt administration in Atlanta historical past.”
Reed argues he is uniquely certified to confront crime, pledging to extend the variety of officers as he did earlier when he was mayor and crime charges had been decrease.
The sometimes-imperious Reed turns many residents off. In one drama, the nationwide NAACP rebuked the president of its Atlanta department for publishing a scathing takedown which slammed Reed’s report on corruption, a scarcity of inexpensive housing and huge incentives for the Atlanta Falcons stadium. But the town police union, which had been a fierce critic of Reed’s cutbacks within the metropolis pension system, endorsed his comeback bid.
Moore was first elected to council in 1997 and was elected citywide as council president in 2017. She touts her legislative report, and guarantees larger accountability and transparency. Moore entered the race earlier than Bottoms bowed out, and is a longtime critic of Reed.
Dickens has been endorsed by former Mayor Shirley Franklin and touts growing the variety of officers, arresting gang leaders and implementing neighborhood policing. He additionally goals to extend inexpensive housing, enhance infrastructure and guarantee present residents qualify for high-paying jobs.
Gay, not too long ago managing accomplice of a legislation agency, was beforehand a prime metropolis appointed official underneath Mayor Bill Campbell. She’s the one white candidate among the many prime 5, in a metropolis with an extended historical past of racially polarized voting.
Brown says generational poverty, gentrification and inadequate inexpensive housing feed unemployment, homelessness and crime.
He’s at present underneath federal indictment, accused of borrowing cash and making bank card purchases after which claiming his identification was stolen. The alleged crimes passed off earlier than his election to City Council, and Brown denies guilt.
Voting in Buckhead, Timothy Haidara, a 25-year-old engineer, stated he forged his poll for Reed.
“I’ve a son who’s being raised within the metropolis, and I believe Kasim will convey a greater Atlanta,” he stated, including that he thinks the previous mayor is the most effective individual to get the economic system going after COVID and to “get extra individuals working.”
Amber Williams, a 32-year-old self-employed artist, additionally voted in Buckhead and stated she voted for Moore.
“She’s very relatable and has that loving side I believe the town wants,” she stated. “She appears out for the neighborhood and the youngsters probably the most, and that’s crucial to me.”
Associated Press author Jeff Martin in Atlanta contributed reporting.
Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.
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