Recount looms in too-close-to-call Atlanta mayor's race

A.R. Shaw

Votes rolled in late Tuesday evening, offering a nail-biting finish for the contentious race to lead one of the largest cities in the deep south - and one that echoed Atlanta's 2009 mayoral contest, when Norwood narrowly lost to Reed and requested a recount, which certified the slim loss.

Voters in Tuesday's runoff for Atlanta mayor are deciding between Mary Norwood and Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Bottoms spoke early Wednesday at an Atlanta hotel, saying near the end of her speech that "I am just in awe of what God is able to do".

But Norwood took the podium at her own rally and said that absentee ballots from military members were yet to figure in the totals, and she believes some ballots have yet to be tabulated.

Norwood told supporters that the difference in the number of votes between the two candidates was within 1 percent, small enough to ask for a recount.

"It's not over yet", Norwood said.

Norwood told reporters she meant to seek a recount. They advanced to the runoff after Bottoms finished first with almost 28 percent of the vote and Norwood second with almost 22 percent in the November 7 general election.

Bottoms, who is black, was endorsed by Young and by Reed, who beat Norwood in a 2009 runoff by only 714 votes. The race looks headed for a recount.

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In terms of overall percentage, Bottoms and Norwood each received 50% of the vote.

In 2009, the recount was finished eight days after the December 1 runoff, with Norwood conceding on December 9. The city of Atlanta is a Democratic stronghold in a state that is otherwise largely Republican, and the city's government remains the only major Democratic power center in the state's political system, which is dominated by Republican officeholders.

Reed, the current mayor, endorsed Bottoms ahead of the general election, and the two share many positions in common. In a city that's had black mayors since 1974, Norwood has had to defend herself.

"A victory for Bottoms, 47, would continue a run of African-American mayors that began with Maynard Jackson in the mid-1970s".

Bottoms scored the endorsements of U.S. Sens. She would also be Atlanta's first-ever white female mayor.

Regardless of who wins Tuesday's runoff, Atlanta will have its first female mayor since 2010, when former mayor Franklin left office.

Contributing: The Associated Press.

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