Keisha Lance Bottoms overcame a slew of local big name endorsements for her opponent, media references to a bribery scandal, and a weekend poll that showed her 6 points behind Mary Norwood to become Atlanta’s 60th mayor.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Keisha Lance-Bottoms came out ahead with 46,464 votes to Mary Norwood’s 45,705 votes–a difference of just 759 votes.
Quite ironically, Norwood lost the 2009 mayoral race by 714 votes out of about 84,000 votes cast.
Bottoms watched as former Mayor Shirley Franklin, and former City Council Presidents Caesar Mitchell and Cathy Woolard, who both ran in the current contest, endorsed Norwood.
Additionally, outgoing Fulton County Chairman John Eaves also endorsed Norwood, along with police, fire and several other city-employee unions.
But Bottoms had national Democrats on her side, and big names flew in to help rescue what appeared to be a Bottoms campaign on the ropes: California Senator Kamala Harris, a potential White House candidate in 2020, and New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, both campaigned for Bottoms over the weekend.
Race became a central factor in the race. While Norwood once again sought to become the first White mayor of the city since 1973, she was forced to answer questions about a secret recording in which she allegedly referred to Black voters she assumed were violating election laws as “thugs” and “felons”.
Bottoms had to defend against accusations that she hadn’t paid her water bill in years, and was dogged by questions surrounding her income tax returns.
She also struggled to distance herself from current Mayor Kasim Reed, and the still-open federal bribery investigation that has seen several city hall figures sent off to jail.
By the end of the night, Bottoms claimed victory and said God answered her children’s prayers.
Norwood quickly called for a recount in the race and did not concede tonight.