Atlanta Mayor candidate Mary Norwood
You'd expect Atlanta's leading mayoral candidate, Mary Norwood, to employ Barack Obama's campaign themes of 'hope and change' to sway a largely democratic electorate. It appears to be working as polls show Norwood's lead is solid.
But the fact that Mary Norwood is white, running as an independent and still leading, has brought national attention to this race. Norwood's numbers reflect that a city once abandoned by affluent whites, has undergone a demographic shift. And the way this race is playing out has some members of Atlanta's black democratic party political establishment feeling marginalized.
In a race testing racial harmony in Georgia's largest city, some veteran black power brokers say their hold on power is being undercut by their past successes running the city.
"We haven't always gotten the credit for that, no," said former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who oversaw the early days of the city's rebirth during the 1980s. "I brought in 1,100 companies from around the world - $70 billion in private investment - and generated more than a million new jobs. "But most people think that's automatic, that that would have happened anyway," he said with a laugh.
Black mayors have occupied City Hall since 1973, but this year, a white City Council member is leading in the polls, even though two black civic leaders urged black voters to unite against her. Source: White candidate scrambles vote, attitudes in Atlanta race - Washington Times
But how much of a factor is race in this Mayoral contest? No polls have pinned it down yet. But it would be naive to suppose that race is not a factor at all.
The Survey USA poll found Mrs. Norwood leading by a 6-to-1 margin among whites, Republicans and independents. Mr. (Kasim) Reed, who has been endorsed by Mr. (Andrew)Young, leads among blacks, who made up 59 percent of the electorate in Survey USA's turnout model.
And in a major break with past elections, a separate Insider Advantage poll on Oct. 16 reported that Mrs. Norwood was even leading among the city's black voters, with nearly one-third supporting her. Source: Washington Times
According to Atlanta political insiders, no one is sure about tomorrow's outcome.