Atlanta’s next leader will be decided Tuesday

(John Spink /

Tuesday caps off a historic election cycle that saw the incumbent mayor forego a reelection bid and a former mayor seek a third term at City Hall. The race ends with two City Council colleagues on the ballot for mayor: Councilman Andre Dickens and City Council President Felicia Moore, who both have big plans to bolster the ranks of the police department, improve basic city services and reopen City Hall to the public.

Dickens, a southwest Atlanta native, is a two-term citywide councilman aiming to repair the “soul of Atlanta” through a number of proposed new initiatives and city departments. Moore, 24-year veteran of the council, is pitching her decades of civic service and legislative experience as prime reasons she should lead the city.

According to AJC, “This election is more about us moving in a new direction, and opening up City Hall to those who have felt shut out of City Hall,” Moore said in an interview Monday. “We have a lot of work to do. We have kicked many cans down the road.”

“It’s become clear to everybody that I’m the person that can lead us right now, in a time when we need a unifier to bring the whole city together,” Dickens said. “I’m a visionary; I have the future of the city in mind when I make decisions.”

Both candidates agree that the stakes for the next mayor are high; they will be tasked with reducing violent crime in Atlanta while restoring trust between the police and marginalized communities. They will have to grapple with an ongoing affordable housing and income inequality crisis in the city.

And weeks after they take office, the Georgia General Assembly will reconvene and consider Republican-led legislation to carve Buckhead into its own city. As the leader of Georgia’s biggest city, Atlanta’s next mayor can also play a big role as a regional leader, especially on issues of transportation and economic development.

Moore finished with 41% of the vote in the Nov. 2 general election, while Dickens was in second place with 23%. For both campaigns, getting 50% of the vote in the runoff means winning over voters who selected other candidates in the general election, namely former Mayor Kasim Reed, who was locked out of the runoff with just 600 fewer votes than Dickens.

Aiming to increase their base of support, both camps have rolled out new endorsements during the runoff. The biggest local name, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, came out in support of Dickens, along with six City Council members and former mayors Shirley Franklin and Andrew Young. Moore is backed by the firefighters union and a majority of DeKalb commissioners, and both have groups of state representatives and senators lined up behind them.

It’s been an expensive race, too. In the final campaign disclosure before the runoff, Moore reported she has raised almost $1.8 million since launching her campaign in January, and has about $170,000 left in the bank. Dickens has outraised Moore since the runoff period began, reporting a total of $2.3 million in contributions with about $450,000 on hand.


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