It looks like Atlanta’s only black city councilman will serve another four years as mayor, finishing off his closest rival and garnering enough votes to top the Democratic primary. Councilman Andre Dickens of the 4th District won the Democratic runoff to secure the mayoral seat vacated by former Mayor Kasim Reed.
The race was the closest of the four with two candidates splitting the black vote 50/50.
When Rotha Bostan won by 10 votes in the primary, she gained national attention. She was the only non-black candidate in the race.
The winner of the Democratic runoff, however, will take office in January to replace outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed.
Here’s a breakdown of how the runoff vote broke down:
Councilman Andre Dickens – 26,677
Councilman Ansley Watkins – 24,450
Councilman Devante Wyatt – 19,760
Former Council President Felicia Moore – 14,360
Eric Alteri – 6,877
Former Mayor Shirley Franklin and other black political leaders sent in help and encouraged their votes to try to narrow the vote gap between Richards and Watkins. Moore drew support from the local African-American and Hispanic community but some felt her name recognition was a negative factor.
As a black councilman, Dickens was the establishment candidate; he has been on council since 2001. He was voted as the fourth most influential city official in the city by City Paper earlier this year. His best support came from black voters, garnering 66 percent of their vote. His Republican opponent Eric Alteri finished second in the primary with 15 percent of the vote.
Watkins campaigned as a “street fighter” and former civil rights attorney for North and South Carolina and Georgia. He called for a $1 increase in the city council’s salary, elimination of city and regional fees, hiring 700 new police officers, a school district audit, paying firefighters on-call, a free ride to college for high school seniors and a five year freeze on housing charges.
Moore’s message focused on accountability in city hall and citizens’ rights. She vowed to restore trust in city government and stop the tax hike “not a one-time pay out but as an annual recurring fee until government is functional.” She also stood firm for, “Pay as you go, we were elected to serve the taxpayers, not the shareholders of every corporation we serve,” and said, “I will not always agree with the $18 million payouts paid to workers’ families, $18 million for disability, tens of millions in labor, pension and benefits.”
Alteri, a third-generation Atlanta native, founded Alteri.com, the City of Atlanta’s Best Time Guide, and the Racial Spectrum, Atlanta’s ethnic magazine. He also co-founded the $1.7 billion nonprofit Alliance of Greater Atlanta. He attracted support from several business leaders and civic leaders in the Atlanta community and served on City Council in the 1990s, including chairman of the Community Development Committee.