Woolard preps a mayoral endorsement with 'FightingForATL conversation'

Atlanta mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Atlanta mayoral candidate Cathy Woolard. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: Jim Galloway

Credit: Jim Galloway

Cathy Woolard said Friday she will leverage her surprising third-place finish in Atlanta's mayor race with a staged "discussion" with the two top finishers, and likely follow that event up with an endorsement ahead of the Dec. 5 runoff.

The event, which she called a "#FightingForATL Conversation," is set to take place next week, though the time and place have not yet been determined. Woolard said City Councilwomen Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood have both agreed to participate.

The polls had predicted Bottoms and Norwood would square off in a December runoff. What they did not predict was the strong finish by Woolard, a former city council president who finished with 17 percent of the vote. She wound up falling about 4,000 votes shy of a spot in the runoff.

And now her formidable constituency, a dedicated bloc of voters rooted in her east Atlanta base, could help swing the Dec. 5 runoff.

She was the leading vote-getter in the DeKalb portion of Atlanta – the eastern-most part of the city where she racked up nearly 4,000 votes, more than doubling her closest competitor.

And she dominated in a ring of eastern precincts along Atlanta’s eastern edge, winning territory that stretched from Grant Park and trendy Old Fourth Ward neighborhoods north along the Beltline through Virginia Highland and Piedmont Park.

Many of Woolard's most fervent backers are sure to be torn over the December runoff. Her liberal base seems unlikely to be a natural fit for Norwood, a self-described independent painted as a "closet Republican" by her adversaries. And Bottoms' embrace of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has some of her supporters uneasy.

Read more: Why Woolard may hold the key to Atlanta mayor runoff

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