ATLANTA — Andre Dickens, a veteran Metropolis Council member, was elected mayor of Atlanta in an upset on Tuesday night time after promising voters that he would assist information town in a extra equitable route.
Mr. Dickens, 47, will step into one of the crucial high-profile political positions within the South after defeating Felicia Moore, 60, the Metropolis Council president, in Tuesday’s runoff election.
In a primary spherical of voting, Ms. Moore had bested Mr. Dickens by greater than 17 share factors. However on Tuesday, Mr. Dickens had about 62 p.c of the vote when The Related Press declared him the winner at about 10:30 p.m.
The mayor’s race unfolded at a time of promise and peril for Atlanta. The town’s inhabitants grew 17 p.c prior to now decade, to about 499,000 individuals, and various main know-how corporations are increasing their footprint within the metropolis in hopes of accelerating range, given that almost half of metropolis residents are Black.
However like many U.S. cities, Atlanta has been battling spikes in various violent crime classes, together with homicide. In Might, town’s political future was thrown into doubt when Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced she wouldn’t run for re-election after a primary time period wherein she was pressured to take care of the coronavirus pandemic, a high-profile police capturing of a Black man, Rayshard Brooks, and racial justice protests that sometimes turned violent.
As different killings rocked town, public security emerged as the important thing difficulty within the mayor’s race, giving an early enhance to former Mayor Kasim Reed, who argued that his expertise made him uniquely certified to remedy the crime downside. However Mr. Reed, who left workplace in 2018, additionally introduced vital political baggage, with quite a few members of his administration convicted or indicted on federal corruption-related expenses.
Mr. Reed’s difficult previous was a possible consider the shock consequence within the preliminary balloting, when Mr. Dickens nudged out the better-known Mr. Reed to safe a spot within the runoff in opposition to the first-place finisher, Ms. Moore.
Since then, Mr. Dickens and Ms. Moore endeavored to differentiate themselves within the nonpartisan race, regardless of the actual fact they’re each liberal Democrats who share most of the similar coverage objectives.
Each supported hiring extra law enforcement officials, encouraging the reform of police tradition and growing Atlanta’s inventory of inexpensive housing.
Each candidates additionally opposed a controversial effort to permit Buckhead, an upscale, majority-white neighborhood, to secede from Atlanta, taking with it a considerable chunk of town’s tax base. This potential divorce, which has been fueled by crime considerations, would require approval by the Republican-dominated State Legislature and a subsequent vote by the neighborhood’s residents. To derail the plan, the subsequent mayor might want to deploy the bully pulpit and interact in nimble and strategic lobbying of Republicans who management the Statehouse.
Through the marketing campaign, Ms. Moore, an actual property agent, leaned into her fame as a thorn within the facet of earlier mayors, together with Mr. Reed. Earlier than he left workplace, she argued that he needs to be held accountable for the corruption on his watch. She reminded voters that she backed laws creating a brand new inspector normal for Metropolis Corridor in addition to an impartial compliance workplace, each in response to the scandals that dogged the Reed administration.
“I’m truly just like the outsider that’s on the within, preventing in opposition to corruption, preventing in opposition to the established order, generally preventing the established order of issues,” Ms. Moore informed a latest viewers at a mayoral discussion board.
Mr. Dickens is the chief growth officer at TechBridge, a nonprofit group that makes use of know-how to assist amplify the work of different nonprofits. Through the marketing campaign he emphasised his function in growing the minimal wage for metropolis workers, in addition to spearheading the creation of a metropolis transportation division. Mr. Dickens, who was endorsed by Mayor Bottoms and former Mayor Shirley Franklin, argued in latest weeks that Ms. Moore had spent extra time criticizing others than racking up her personal achievements over the course of her lengthy profession.
“She does nothing and I do so much,” Mr. Dickens mentioned in a latest interview.
Each Ms. Moore and Mr. Dickens are Black. Tuesday’s election extends a streak of Black mayors in Atlanta because the election of Maynard Jackson in 1973 regardless of a latest inflow of white residents that induced the share of Black residents to say no from a slight majority to 47 p.c of the inhabitants, based on an evaluation of 2020 Census figures.