The Race for City Hall

Atlanta City Hall. (Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com)

Credit: Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com

How we are covering the race

AJC is committed to ensuring that Atlantans are fully educated about the candidates for mayor and others who seek public office. Atlantans must make informed choices when electing our leaders. It is critical that voters know where each candidate stands on important issues, what moneyed interests might influence them and whether the candidates have behaved ethically in the past. In its coverage of the race for Atlanta mayor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newsroom will:

• Attend forums and debates throughout the election cycle so you know how the candidates are staking out their positions and answering urgent questions.

• Conduct deep background investigations on the major candidates for mayor with an eye toward past behavior and any potential conflicts that might raise questions on or provide insight into how a candidate might perform.

• Publish profiles of each candidate aimed at understanding each candidate’s personal life, background, influences and qualifications.

• Examine the big donors in the race for mayor to understand what interests might help decide the race.

• Publish a voters guide that will allow you to compare the candidates and their position on the defining issues of the race for mayor.

Our commitment to you

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution is working on your behalf to be an indispensable resource for information about the election of Atlanta’s next mayor. This is a critically important election. Atlanta’s next mayor will lead a city that is still operating under the threat of a pandemic, grappling with a spike in violent crime, and managing growth and redevelopment that touches each resident.

Additionally, this will be the first major election that will be regulated by Georgia’s new voting laws.

We are working to make sure you stay abreast of each development. Our goal is to make sure you cast your ballot with a thorough understanding of who’s on the ballot, who might influence them and where they stand on the issues.

Our Reporters
Portrait of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s City Hall Reporter Wilborn P. Nobles III (L) and Intown Atlanta hyperlocal reporter J.D. Capelouto (R). (Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com)
Caption
Portrait of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s City Hall Reporter Wilborn P. Nobles III (L) and Intown Atlanta hyperlocal reporter J.D. Capelouto (R). (Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com)

Credit: Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com

Credit: Tyson Horne / tyson.horne@ajc.com

Our City Hall reporters, Wilborn Nobles III and J.D. Capelouto are following the campaigns and digging in to the issues facing Atlanta.
What does the mayor and city council do?

Atlanta city government is made up of administrative and legislative branches. The council president is a member of city council, but has unique duties and responsibilities. All positions are up for election in 2021. Here’s a look at each:

Mayor

Atlanta is served by a strong mayor form of government, in which the mayor is the administrative leader in charge of all city departments The mayor’s duties include general management of the city, providing the city council with a draft annual budget that is balanced, and ensuring all laws and ordinances are enforced. The mayor cannot sponsor ordinances or resolution but can direct administrative actions through executive orders, and veto ordinances or resolutions passed by the city council.
Salary: $202,730.

Council president

The Atlanta City Council President is responsible for presiding over all city council meetings and the appointment of chairs and members of various council committees. The council president assumes mayoral duties if the mayor is disabled, resigns, or is removed from office. The council president cannot sponsor ordinances or resolutions, and only votes on legislation in the event of a tie.
Salary: $74,400.

City Council

There are 15 council members, 12 of whom represent specific areas of the city and three who are elected to citywide at-large posts. Council members write and vote on ordinances, which have the effect of law, and resolutions, which are non-binding but express legislative intent. Council members also develop policies that serve as operational standards and serve on committees which consider legislation before it is voted on by the full council. Council members can override a mayoral veto with a two-thirds majority vote.
Salary: $72,360.

Salaries based on raises that will take effect in January, 2022.

Where we get our information

In covering the race for mayor, much of our reporting is based on government documents and statements made by the candidates. Here are some of our primary resources for news coverage.

Campaign finance reports -- Each candidate will file disclosures intended to inform the public of who is financially supporting their bids for mayor. These documents provide insight into who is seeking to influence the candidates and how many resources a candidate will bring to an expensive political enterprise.

Public records -- Our reporters will mine publicly available records to background each candidate so voters are given insight into their finances, personal conduct and community ties and influences.

Public statements -- The AJC will attend mayoral forums and debates and join the candidates on the campaign trail to chronicle how they’re talking to voters and how they’re answering urgent questions along the way.

Polling -- The AJC, in partnership with the University of Georgia, will conduct a series of polls to better understand which issues will shape and decide the race for mayor.

Conversations with voters -- The AJC newsroom will dispatch across the city to talk to prospective voters about the issues that are important to them and the questions they want the candidates for mayor to answer.

How and why we leave our opinions out of our coverage

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s news gathering is conducted free of bias, partisanship or favor.

Our news staff is committed to objectivity. The credibility of our reporting depends on it.

If you think any of our coverage lacks fairness, we would like to hear from you. Email us at atlmayorsrace@ajc.com.

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Managing Editor
Because you subscribe

The AJC is able to invest in this race on your behalf. Here are some of the investments:

• A team of reporters dedicated to covering the campaigns, vetting the candidates and talking to voters.

• A series of polls that will provide insight into voter preferences and the issues that may decide the race.

• Community conversations where we hear from you and you hear from each other.

• Special video project where we document your concerns, thoughts and ambitions.