City Councilman Bill Campbell and former Fulton County Commissioner Michael Lomax faced each other on a runoff ballot Tuesday after a mayoral campaign marred by a bribery scandal.
Campbell was favored in polls to easily beat Lomax and had led a 12-candidate field in the Nov. 2 nonpartisan general election with 49% of the vote.
But Campbell landed in the runoff because he was 831 votes short of a majority. Lomax finished the general election in second place with 23% of the vote.
Campbell won the endorsement of Mayor Maynard Jackson, who is retiring after serving three terms in two stretches, while Lomax was backed by civil rights leader and former Mayor Andrew Young.
The race to lead Atlanta through the 1996 Olympics turned nasty in its final days as Lomax tried to link Campbell to a bribery scandal at city-owned Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.
Several businessmen, a city councilman and a former airport commissioner have been indicted in the case involving kickbacks from concession operators.
Although he did not accuse Campbell of criminal activity, Lomax seized upon newspaper reports that a key witness claimed to have paid bribes to Campbell.
Campbell submitted to a polygraph test last week, which he said absolved him of any wrongdoing. But Lomax insisted that the cloud of scandal shows that City Hall needs an outsider.
Lomax favored creation of an independent commission to supervise the airport. Campbell wanted the airport to remain under control of the City Council but said additional scrutiny is needed.