Everything changed on May 7, when Bottoms made the surprise announcement that she wouldn’t seek a second term. Within a month, Brown, Dickens, and Reed had all launched campaigns.
No easy task
The next mayor will take on the challenge of reducing violent crime in Atlanta. Crime and policing dominated the mayor’s race, as each candidate pitched why they are best-suited to restore public safety.
Race to City Hall: Mayor candidates discuss how their policies will be unique
Almost all the major candidates want to hire a new police chief and more officers, but they have different goals for how many cops they want. Reed wants to hire 750 officers, and Dickens wants 250 officers in his first year. Moore wants to give incentives to hire at least 200 officers in 100 days.
The mayoral candidates also vowed to focus on better police training, community policing, and restoring trust between police and the community.
The 61st mayor will also influence discussions about zoning, affordable housing, infrastructure, transit and the future of the city jail.
City Hall’s second-highest position is also on this year’s ballot. The Council President candidates are City Councilwoman Natalyn Mosby Archibong, former school board member Courtney English, businessman Doug Shipman, Sam Manuel, and Mike Russell.
Atlanta’s 15-member council will also look different in January. Most of the incumbents have challengers, who include several progressive candidates looking to upend the status quo on issues of policing and criminal justice.
Additionally, all nine seats on the Atlanta Board of Education are up for election this year. Six incumbents are among the 22 candidates who qualified to appear on the ballot.
Atlanta isn’t the only city with a hot mayoral election. Residents of suburban enclaves, many Republican, across metro Atlanta for the first time in a while have a viable Democrat to consider.
Rusty Paul, the two-term Sandy Springs mayoral and established GOP politico, is facing a challenge from former Fulton Democratic official Dontaye Carter. And in nearby Johns Creek, GOP-supported John Bradberry faces former council member Brian Weaver.
Democrats are also making for interesting contests in Roswell and Dacula. But candidates left of center are also challenging Democrats. Nick Ferrante, the only non-retiree running for mayor in Peachtree City, has Libertarian leanings. He has been labeled as a socialist in heavily Republican Fayette County. And then there’s actual Democrat Socialist and South Fulton City Councilman Khalid Kamau, who is among the three challenging incumbent Mayor Bill Edwards.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ben Brasch contributed to this article. Thanks for reading, and as always, send us any feedback or story tips at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
WILBORN NOBLES III
Wilborn P. Nobles III covers the Atlanta mayor's policies for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wil (not "Willie" or "William") previously covered Baltimore County government at The Baltimore Sun, but he never finished "The Wire." He also covered education for the Times-Picayune in his hometown of New Orleans, so he tries to avoid discussions about football. Wil used to play tuba for his high school marching band, but he eventually put down his horn to intern at The Washington Post. The Louisiana State University graduate enjoys gardening, comedy, and music.
J.D. Capelouto is a local news reporter covering City Hall and all things intown Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His work focuses the City Council, neighborhood issues, public safety, housing and transportation. J.D. was born and raised in Atlanta and has lived in the city all his life, except for four years at Boston University, where he studied journalism and learned how to dress for cold weather. He’s been with the AJC since 2018, and has previously written for The Boston Globe and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. When he’s not reporting or scrolling through Twitter, J.D. enjoys pop culture podcasts, “Survivor” and visiting various pools around Atlanta.