The Race for City Hall: The biggest issue facing Atlanta? It may depend on your age

A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about the Atlanta mayor’s race.
A crowd fills the room to hear mayoral candidates Council President Felicia Moore, Councilman Antonio Brown, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, attorney Sharon Gay, Councilman Andre Dickens, and local businessman Richard Wright answer questions in a mayoral debate hosted by The Young Democrats of Atlanta at Manuel’s Tavern on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, in Atlanta.   “Curtis Compton /”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

A crowd fills the room to hear mayoral candidates Council President Felicia Moore, Councilman Antonio Brown, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, attorney Sharon Gay, Councilman Andre Dickens, and local businessman Richard Wright answer questions in a mayoral debate hosted by The Young Democrats of Atlanta at Manuel’s Tavern on Wednesday, August 4, 2021, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton /”

We’re entering the final stretch in the race to decide Atlanta’s next mayor, and much of the electorate is still making up their minds with just one week to go until Election Day, a new AJC poll shows.

The poll had Kasim Reed and Felicia Moore neck-and-neck and in the lead. But with about 41% of voters still undecided, there’s still hope for another candidate to secure a spot in a Nov. 30 runoff. Andre Dickens, Sharon Gay and Antonio Brown — all of whom are in single digits in our poll — will likely spend this week working to sway and turn out voters who have been undecided or checked out of the race up until now.

We took a closer look at the crosstabs of our poll, which painted an interesting picture of a generational divide playing out among the electorate.

Perhaps most revealing was the question that asked what is the most pressing issue facing the city?. Overall, nearly half of the survey respondents said crime, followed by affordable housing at 26%. But the older the respondents, the more they pointed to crime as the top issue.

Voters aged 18 to 29 — who are more likely to be renters and hence more likely to face the burden of rising rents in the city — were the only age group where a plurality (40%) chose affordable housing as the most pressing issue, followed by crime (34%) and income inequality (16%).

The younger age brackets also had the highest percentage of undecided voters, making them a valuable demographic for mayoral candidates in the final leg of the race.


Early voting ends this Friday. You can vote early at any location in your county, but you have to go to your assigned polling place if you vote on Nov. 2.

Through Saturday, nearly 16,000 people have voted early or by mail, according to

And for all the Braves fans out there, we’ll note that Game 6 of the World Series, if necessary, is scheduled for Election Day.

(We’re personally rooting for the Braves to wrap it up at home in four or five games.)

Kasim Reed said at a press conference Monday that he hopes to attend one of the World Series games and has no regrets over the Braves’ move to Cobb County, which happened under his watch: “Looks to me like it all worked out.”


We got a hold of a complaint that was sent to the state ethics commission last week against the Safer Atlanta PAC, which is supporting the Felicia Moore campaign, according to its website.

The complaint, filed by local attorney Michael Russ, states that the organization, which solicits donations of up to $50,000, has not registered with the state ethics commission or Secretary of State’s office. That’s required by Georgia law since the PAC meets the definition of an “independent committee,” according to the complaint.

The law also requires such committees to release disclosure reports showing their donors and expenses.

Since Kasim Reed entered the race, the PAC has paid for ads criticizing the former mayor.

A spokeswoman for Moore said in a statement that the campaign doesn’t collaborate with PACs, “so we have no knowledge of this.” We’ve also reached out to the PAC for a response.

Russ told us he filed the complaint to “make sure everyone abides by the rules,” and said the law regulating independent committees was put in place “to put those voting on notice about what’s going on behind closed doors.” He said he filed the complaint independent of any other mayoral campaign.


We received texts over the weekend pointing us to a video from a Friday evening mayoral forum at Hillside International Truth Center.

At the end of the Southside Mayoral Forum, Peoplestown resident Bertha Darden stepped up to the microphone and addressed Reed about her attempts to keep her home following severe flooding that started in 2012.

Darden said Reed told her and her husband that they would not have to leave their homes. But the city later proposed a park and a retention pond to stop future flooding in the area, and sought to use eminent domain to acquire the houses.

Darden was among a few residents who refused to take a deal with the city and leave, waging a years-long legal battle against City Hall that’s still ongoing.

“I trusted you. I voted for you. … And then for your administration to come in our community, to force families out of their homes by using eminent domain,” Darden said. “Here we are, seniors. Where are we gonna live?”

Reed responded by apologizing to Darden and her husband, saying that he made the best decision he could at the time based on worries about future severe weather events.

“I hope that if I’m ever in position as mayor again that I will be able to treat you and your husband fairly and better than we did,” he said.

The video of Darden’s remarks has made the rounds online, with 15,000 views on YouTube as of Monday morning.


10/01/2021 — Atlanta, Georgia — Atlanta mayoral candidate Kasim Reed listens as candidate Felicia Moore speaks during a forum hosted by Partners for HOME and Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative at the Institute of Technology Hotel and Conference Center in Atlanta, Friday, October 1, 2021.  (Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal Constitution)

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

icon to expand image

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Moore’s campaign said her personal phone number was again exposed in a misleading anonymous mass text sent out to voters over the weekend.

The text called out Moore’s votes on City Council to raise property taxes in 2002 and 2009.

If someone responded to the text, they got an automatic reply encouraging them to call Moore’s personal number, her campaign said.

“Such tactics are beneath the dignity we should expect of any Atlanta mayoral candidate, and it brings shame on our city,” she said in a statement Saturday.

Reed said at a Monday press conference that he disavowed that tactic, but then went on the offensive against Moore.

Reed was also the victim of a false text attack last week. “#CorruptKasim can’t fix the crime problem,” the text said, along with a photoshopped visual of Reed in a prison jumpsuit. Reed said at a Monday press conference that his daughter saw the photo.

“We did not send out those texts, nor did we photoshop him into a prison jumpsuit,” Moore’s campaign wrote in a statement.

Moore insinuated Reed was behind that attack, too: “Mr. Reed is trying to play the victim.”


In the wake of a surprising statement from the local chapter of the NAACP slamming Reed’s candidacy, we took a closer look at our latest poll that found that the Black electorate is largely undecided on who should lead the city.

We also got a statement over the weekend from the national branch of the NAACP in response to the local chapter’s actions:

“The NAACP does not support or condone its units and affiliates endorsing or disparaging political candidates. The unfortunate recent remarks of Atlanta NAACP Branch President regarding the Atlanta Mayoral race is an internal NAACP matter and, as such, we will have no further public comments.”


Councilman Brown took his mayoral campaign to the “Old Town Road” when he stopped by a celebration dinner for Atlanta-born rapper Lil Nas X last week.

The rapper, whose name is Montero Hill, was in town for a “homecoming” event organized by Atlanta producer Dallas Austin. In addition to congratulating him on his success, the City Council named Oct. 20, 2021, as “Lil Nas X Day.”

Brown thanked Hill for his contributions to the LGBTQ community and plugged his race for mayor.

“I’m running to be the mayor of Atlanta. I would be the first LGBTQ mayor in the history of this city,” Brown said to applause from Hill and the crowd.

The industry event featured a dinner and dancing and boasted many from Atlanta’s music scene as guests, including Chloe Bailey and Kandi Burruss-Tucker, as well as music executives and producers.


Gay’s campaign released several short ads on YouTube in an effort to rally more support for the private attorney. In the videos, she vowed to address potholes, waste collection services, and permitting.

She also promised to improve policing, and she urged voters to join her at Manuel’s Tavern at 6 p.m. Tuesday.


The endorsement corner:

- Reed announced an endorsement from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys. Reed was also endorsed by Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr.

- Tricia “CK” Hoffler, former National Bar Association president, and counsel to civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said Jackson is also endorsing Reed.

- Councilwoman Jennifer Ide is supporting Andre Dickens’ bid for mayor. Ide represents a northeast Atlanta district and isn’t running for reelection this year.


What’s coming up:

- Monday marks another campaign fundraising deadline; candidates have a grace period of a few days to release financial reports spanning the last 25 days.

- The Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and the Women’s Chamber of Commerce is hosting a virtual town hall with the mayoral candidates on Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m.

- On Tuesday. Oct. 26, from noon to 12 a.m., Slutty Vegan is hosting a get-out-the-vote rally hosted by founder Pinky Cole and Kasim Reed at its Edgewood Avenue location. An initial promotion for the event said the popular restaurant will be offering free burgers and fries for guests who show an early voting sticker, but organizers later clarified that the event and free food are open to anyone, not just those with a sticker.

Thanks for reading, and as always, send us any feedback or story tips at and