It’s highly possible that tomorrow, Atlanta may have it’s first mayor of the Caucasian persuasion since 1973. In a neck – and –neck race, Councilwoman Mary Norwood and former state fight tooth and nail to clench the coveted seat – both with much to prove. Reed is viewed as representing “the old guard” while Norwood may be a reflection of the growing white citizenry within Atlanta itself.
In the current political climate, this intense competition is being interpreted by progress as some, and a threat to others.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Earl Ofari Hutchinson said “Instead of color, African-Americans are looking at: Are [candidates] honest on a personal and political level? Can they move political and economic interests to create a good employment base? Are they accountable and responsive to the African-American community? If those elements are there, they’re going to trump race.”
The Monitor also explains, “for Lisa Borders and Kasim Reed, the two black candidates who were trailing Norwood in pre-election polls, the primary focus has been bolstering the city’s gutted police department. While violent crime is down overall in the city, a few high profile murders and a rise in property crimes means residents are agitated.
But Norwood has built her campaign around the recession, focusing on mismanaged city finances and how foreclosures are blighting the city.”
Vying for the mayoral throne has included the casting of dispersions (for instance, Reed accusing Norwood of being a “covert” Republican), and a move from both sides to get the LGBT sector squarely in their pockets. There is little room for error during the final moments of this heated race. Nevertheless, tomorrow, December 1, 2009, Atlanta will hopefully choose the leader best fit to successfully guide their thriving city into the second decade of this new age.