The Jolt: Mary Norwood struggles with the topic of Donald Trump

Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

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Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

On Monday, radio stations V103 and WAOK hosted yet another Atlanta mayoral forum, this time at the Woodruff Arts Center.

At the tail end of the 90-minute event, Rashad Richey, a former state Democratic party operative and one of V103's many voices, asked the nine candidates present to give their assessments of President Donald Trump.

One by one, they uniformly named Trump a disaster. And then it was the turn of Councilwoman Mary Norwood. She stood and said: “I abhor any racism, any bigotry, any violence, any supremacy of any type. So I am absolutely opposed to any policies that reinforce that a hundred percent.”

And then she sat down. The next candidate, Council President Ceasar Mitchell, began to rise with his answer.

“Hold on, wait a minute,” Richey said. “But Ms. Norwood, what do you think about Trump – President Trump?”

Norwood tried again: “We have a president. I am telling you that I do not support those policies. I am saying to this audience that I do not support any policies that are bigotry, that are racism, that are in any way related to –“

A member of the audience attempted to interrupt. The moderator shushed him. “Ms. Norwood, would you finish with your response?” Richey asked.

“I am finished,” Norwood said.

One by one, the Trump denunciations continued. “I want to just say ditto to everything, except for what Ms. Norwood said – or didn’t say,” said former state senator Vincent Fort. Which allowed Norwood one more shot in the rebuttal that Richey then offered her.

“Mr. Richey, we have a president. I may not like the president. I may not support the policies that are in this country and that are being promoted, but we have a president. This is what happens in this country. That election stands.

“If people wish to impeach the president, they wish to impeach the president. But I, as the next mayor, will be committed to getting the most I can get for Atlanta in financial resources, from every single part of the governments in this country,” Norwood said.  Watch the video here:

The Atlanta mayoral race is formally a nonpartisan affair. But most of the candidates are self-identified Democrats.

Norwood has consistently said she is an independent, and in the past, she has successfully walked that tightrope. Last week, she admitted voting for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contest. But Trump may be one of those topics where neutrality doesn’t work. This will have reverberations.


If your campaign canvassers are going to embarrass the candidate they're working for, make sure they don't do it on video. That's what happened when door-knockers for Peter Aman's campaign for mayor of Atlanta were caught on tape trying to persuade a Cathy Woolard backer to ditch her candidate.

“Did you see the Cathy Woolard sign in the front?” the homeowner tells the two young canvassers.

“We did, but did you know she’s currently polling in sixth and considering putting her support behind Peter?” one of the two canvassers said.

“She is doing what?”

“She’s currently polling in sixth place and the rumor has it that she’s going to throw her support behind Peter in the runoff,” he said.

The homeowner brushed the two off – and then sent the footage to Woolard's campaign. It's now posted on Woolard's website under the headline "Shameless." She accused the Aman campaign of "trickery."

The canvasser is now unemployed. Aman said that, though he was "contrite," he was promptly fired for going off-script. “This is not the way we run our campaign, and to Cathy Woolard and her team I apologize,” Aman on a video he posted to Twitter, adding: “No matter how many times you train people, you have to be ready to hold people accountable who make mistakes.” (Greg Bluestein)


State Senate President pro tem David Shafer is touting yet another endorsement in his Republican bid for lieutenant governor – this time from former GOP candidate Rick Santorum. From the press release, a Santorum quote: "David Shafer is the rare politician who talks like a conservative and then actually votes like one."

Santorum narrowly bested Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses at the outset of the 2012 presidential primary. He finished third in Georgia, where Newt Gingrich ran as a favorite son – and placed first.


Our AJC colleague David Wickert caught a transportation forum on Monday that included a few words from state Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, who chairs the House Commission on Transit Governance and Funding, a group put together by Speaker David Ralston earlier this year. A taste:

Tanner does not believe lawmakers are interested in supporting transit operations – “I don’t think the state is interested in getting into the operating side.” But it could provide regular funding for capital expenses.

Wickert doesn’t say so, but what we could be talking about here is an infrastructure bank funded by the state, with specific priorities in mind. Such as transit.


Over at, Holly Croft has a piece on her brief employment in the offices of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa. Yeah, that Tim Murphy. A taste:

I had, in a mere few months, been yelled at for having a Southern accent; berated in front of the rest of the leg shop for not being able to come up with a state-awarded academic accomplishment to note in a one-minute speech I’d written on a high school that won a state football championship, even after the school’s administration told me none existed; and worse.

This post is not, however, about my venting on a former employer who was a bully (though some of my former co-workers have, and that particular article has hit me in the heart). I tell those stories above, barely grazing the surface of what happened during my time there, to speak to any current staffers on campaigns or in Hill offices who are in bad situations.


If a supporter of one campaign falsely accuses a rival campaign of spreading a false rumor, does that make said supporter guilty of spreading the false rumor? This is a dizzy incident that you may have to read a couple times to get the gist.

In the Democratic race for governor, Stacey Evans’ top aide has called for her rival, Stacey Abrams, to disavow a widely-shared column asserting that the Evans campaign started a false “whisper campaign” labeling Abrams as a lesbian.

The column, written by Abrams supporter Jason Johnson in The Root, cited a message from an unnamed operative about a run-in at a DeKalb County Democratic breakfast meeting with a "volunteer coordinator" from the Evans campaign and conversations with two black voters. So no names.

Evans’ campaign manager Seth Clark said no Evans staffers have attended a DeKalb breakfast, that the campaign doesn’t employ a “volunteer coordinator” and that Johnson never reached out to the Evans campaign for comment.

“These days politics in Washington is about dividing people for political advantage,” Clark said. “The Evans for Georgia campaign rejects those sorts of tactics.” Abrams’ campaign declined the Evans invitation to put any distance between itself and the article.

From Abrams campaign spokeswoman Priyanka Mantha:

"The Evans campaign continues to peddle distractions and old school whisper and deny tactics, but we are focused on speaking with voters in every part of the state about the fact that Stacey Abrams is the most qualified candidate for governor, with a clear vision for how we can help every Georgian succeed, not just survive."



The floodgates haven't exactly opened, but Bobby Kaple's decision to run for Georgia's Sixth District has spurred at least one other Democrat to join the race.

Richard Keatley, an educator and U.S. Navy veteran, announced Monday he was giving the race for the suburban Atlanta district another go.

Keatley was one of five Democrats in the April contest, finishing with about 230 votes - or 0.1 percent of the electorate. He and three other also-ran Democrats were vastly overshadowed by Jon Ossoff, who nearly won the election outright - only to lose to Republican Karen Handel in a nationally-watched June runoff. (GB)