In ATL race for mayor, Peter Aman challenges Mary Norwood's grip on Buckhead

Updated at 1:30 p.m.: In the original version of this post identified both Peter Aman and Mary Norwood as "avowed Democrats." A helpful reader has provided this link to a Georgia Voice forum in which Norwood says she's an independent. At about the 41:00 mark.

Original: A serious case of poaching is underway in the race for mayor of Atlanta.

Yolanda Adrean, the city council member for the District 8, has endorsed Peter Aman. You have to know a little bit about geography to know why this is important.

District 8 is in the northwest corner of the city, comprising the western half of Buckhead down to Atlantic Station. This is the district where at-large city council member and mayoral candidate Mary Norwood lives.

Now it clicks, right? Aman is a Democrat. Norwood is an avowed independent (though the state Democratic party accused Norwood of GOP leanings eight years ago). Nonetheless, both need the votes of Buckhead Republicans to survive the first round of voting in November. Eight years ago, Buckhead support helped propel Norwood into her ill-fated runoff with Kasim Reed.

Adrean explained her choice this way:

“(Aman is) the kind of leader who can take us through the complexities of one of the Southeast’s largest economies. It’s a huge job that involves working with leaders from the neighborhood level, county, state and all the way up to the White House.

“I think Peter has the gravitas to operate in any of those arenas.”

So I asked her if this was also a reflection on Norwood. Adrean’s reply:

“Mary’s done a great job being an advocate for neighborhoods. But [being mayor] is a broader job than that. It’s more significant to the region, even.”

Aman, of course, pronounced himself “thrilled” with Adrean’s endorsement. “It’s a clear, additional sign of a shifting of a number parts of the city, including Buckhead, toward my campaign,” he said.

While I had him on the phone, I asked Aman about the other play for Republican votes he made last week -- when he showed up at Karen Handel’s Sixth District victory party. That’s him on the left in the photo below. Newly elected state GOP chairman John Watson is second from the right, and the fellow on the far right is Brad Carver, chairman of the 11th District GOP:

Aman’s campaign quickly produced a photo from the candidate’s visit to Jon Ossoff’s corresponding (but far less cheerful) watch party. That’s Aman with Ossoff’s mom, Heather Fenton:

Said Aman:

“I’m proud to be a Democrat, and I don’t hide from that. Mary Norwood tends to hide from her party, and tries to obfuscate that….”

There was, of course, that time earlier this year, when Norwood popped in on a gathering of the Democratic National Committee in Atlanta. But we’ll let Aman continue:

“I’m also very conscious of the fact that, for the city of Atlanta to advance, the next mayor is going to have to have relationships with both parties. Mayor Reed had the advantage of having a Democrat in the White House. At least for the moment, that’s not the case. And we have Governor Deal in the office just for another year.”

Aman argued that the city of Atlanta is looking for $3 billion in matching federal funds to expand MARTA rail, which requires support at both the state and federal levels – which are, right now, in Republican hands.

Working across the aisle is too often a catch phrase, he said. “People sometimes say that, but they don’t really do it. For me, it’s about showing up,” he said.

I asked Aman if he were modeling his approach after Mayor Kasim Reed, whose alliance with Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, initially raised eyebrows. Aman said he was. But he also noted Shirley Franklin – whom Aman also worked for -- had the same approach when she was mayor.

We noted that the Perdue-Franklin relationship quickly went south – which Aman didn’t dispute. “But you see where she started,” he said.


It doesn’t help their branding, but #ResistTrumpTuesdays will fall on a Wednesday this week. That’s when the local activist group that has targeted U.S. Sen. David Perdue at weekly street protests will perform a “die in” on the sidewalk in front his new Buckhead office.


A new dynasty? Former Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich, who is hawking a book about the president and whose wife has been nominated as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican,  has a bold prediction about Donald Trump's future in the latest New York Magazine:

After the Democrats went zero for four in special elections, the delusions and fantasies continue. Trump will be reelected in 2020, and Pence will probably follow him in 2024. The analogue for Trump is Andrew Jackson, not Richard Nixon.


Brian Kemp, currently secretary of state and a GOP candidate for governor, on Monday emailed a note about a list of endorsements to supporters. The subject line: “300”

He neglected to include the photo, so we’ve done it for him:


We told you over the weekend that the Congressional Leadership Fund's executive director, Corry Bliss, managed Karen Handel's 2014 campaign for U.S. Senate. What we didn't realize was that his top deputy, William Inman, had deep ties to Handel as well.

A Thomasville native, Inman was Handel's body-man in her 2010 run for governor and the two remain close. He returned to her campaign in 2014 while finishing law school at Georgia State University and has worked for Bliss ever since - serving as his deputy campaign manager for the campaigns of Sens. Pat Roberts and Rob Portman.

As the CLF deputy executive director, Inman helped draft the group's $7 million plan and then execute it.

“William is a rising star in our party. He has been instrumental in formulating CLF's strategy not only in Georgia, but nationwide as we look to 2018," Bliss said. "We wouldn’t be 4-0 in special elections without him.”

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About the Author

Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein
Greg Bluestein is a political reporter who covers the governor's office and state politics for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.