Atlanta mayoral candidate demands recount after losing by razor-thin margin

Associated Press

Associated Press

Votes rolled in late Tuesday evening, offering a nail-biting finish for the contentious race to lead one of the largest cities in the deep south - and one that echoed Atlanta's 2009 mayoral contest, when Norwood narrowly lost to Reed and requested a recount, which certified the slim loss.

"We're behind the times in terms of having a modern transportation system compared to what you see in NY or Washington", said Kendra A. King Momon, professor of politics at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.

Atlanta has a new mayor-elect, and it's a Black woman for the second time in the city's history.

Georgia utilizes a majority rule with a runoff voting system, which means that if no candidate secures more than 50% of the vote in the general election, a final race between the top two candidates decides the victor.

The margin was razor-thin, with just a few hundred votes separating Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood.

"So this is very close", Norwood said as the crowd responded "It's not over!"

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"Bottoms, who is black, faced Norwood, who is white".

When calling for a vote recount, Norwood cited an unofficial count and said that she was waiting for the vote count to be updated later in the week.

Just 759 votes separated the candidates early Wednesday morning, Norwood told supporters. "It's a lot harder to drive a van with six felons, you know guys who are going to commit felonies by voting illegally if somebody's watching", she said. In a city that's had black mayors since 1974, Norwood has had to defend herself. The city hasn't had a female mayor since 2010. She identifies as an independent.

Norwood also got endorsements from several of her former competitors, and state senator Vincent Fort - the unsuccessful candidate backed by independent Sen. But Georgia Democrats, who supported Bottoms, accused Norwood of being a closet conservative. Norwood, who is white, would be Atlanta's first white female mayor.

One campaign ad suggested Norwood is a Republican and asked whether the next mayor of Atlanta should "be from the party of Trump?"

With 100 percent of precincts reporting just after midnight, outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed took to the stage at Bottoms' campaign party at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown and introduced her as the next mayor of the city.

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