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World & Nation

Atlanta mayoral candidate concedes in race decided by about 700 votes

Mary Norwood
Independent Mary Norwood, pictured, has conceded the Atlanta mayoral race to Democratic rival Keisha Lance Bottoms.
(David Goldman / Associated Press)

Two weeks after Atlanta’s bitterly contested mayoral runoff election, Mary Norwood, a white independent, conceded late Wednesday night to black Democrat Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Bottoms, a former city councilwoman, defeated Norwood in the Dec. 5 runoff election by 759 votes. Norwood said the election, with a margin of victory of less than 1%, was “too close to call” and requested a recount.

After the recount showed Bottoms winning 46,661 votes to Norwood’s 45,840 — a margin of 821 votes — Norwood refused last week to concede, citing potential voting irregularities in some areas of the city.

But in a YouTube video posted after 10 p.m. Wednesday, Norwood changed her stance, saying: “Although there were some irregularities with the election, I have decided not to contest it. For the future of this city, I believe it is the right thing to do to move on and hold a new administration accountable to serve this great city well.”

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In her concession speech, Norwood celebrated Atlanta as a city too busy to hate, reminding voters that her vision had been to improve upon Atlanta as a place for anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

Norwood also hit back against her opponents’ attempts to raise questions about having a white mayor preside over a city that was the cradle of the civil rights movement and has elected a long and uninterrupted string of black mayors since 1973.

“I was appalled to see the misrepresentations of me personally and of all those connected to me,” Norwood said in the YouTube video. “I was stunned to see that I, who had faithfully and equitably served all Atlantans for over two decades, was being accused of being a racist who would turn back the clock to 1950. They made it all about race and a divisive campaign.”

Jarvie is a special correspondent.

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