The race to become Atlanta’s next mayor is a dead heat between two female city leaders, according to a FOX 5 News poll which shows Keisha Lance Bottoms with a minor edge at 41.5 percent, followed by Mary Norwood at 38.7 percent.
The poll was conducted by Opinion Savvy, which asked 500 registered Atlanta voters who they would support for mayor.
A large swath of voters said they were undecided. The poll’s Managing Partner, Matthew Towery Jr., told FOX 5 that the poll is well within the margin of error and there is no clear leader in the race.
Both women’s perceived baggage have become central issues in the tightly contested race.
The Norwood campaign has stepped up attacks on Lance-Bottoms over her having owed thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes, and that she did not pay her water bill for several years.
The local media has also constantly mentioned Lance-Bottoms, a close ally of Mayor Kasim Reed, in relation to a federal bribery case that continues to rock City Hall.
Lance-Bottoms, a City Councilwoman, has not been accused of wrongdoing in the still-ongoing investigation.
Norwood also called out Lance-Bottoms for receiving what Norwood termed disproportionately large donations from special interest groups, including vendors and contractors–deeply-influential groups that donated strongly to Kasim Reed as well.
Mary Norwood has a few pieces of luggage herself.
In a June secret recording, Norwood was heard telling a meeting of Republicans that she believed Reed engaged in voter fraud to beat her in their 2009 contest, which Norwood lost by about 700 votes.
She alleged that Reed brought in people who no longer lived in the city to cast ballots, including homeless people.
Norwood made the comments after asking attendees not to record what she was saying.
On the tape, she referred to those supposed Black voters as “felons”, and “people who get money from the government”.
Reed denied he engaged in voter fraud, and Norwood has not offered proof to match her allegations.
In a city that is more than 80% Democrat, Norwood has also been accused of being a closet Republican: she has previously voted Republican, and was a delegate to the Republican Convention in the past.
She was also heard on the same tape saying she could not ID herself as Republican in Atlanta or she would lose the race.
Norwood has claimed the tape was doctored and her comments were misinterpreted, but she has not offered proof of that either.
Race is playing a major role in the contest: Norwood is seeking to become the city’s first White mayor since 1973.
The runoff election takes place December 5th but early voting is now underway.