The Race for City Hall: Who’s going to be our next mayor? Survey says...

A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about the Atlanta mayor’s race.
210916-Atlanta-Atlanta mayoral candidates speak at a public safety forum Thursday evening, Sept. 16, 2021 in Downtown Atlanta. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

210916-Atlanta-Atlanta mayoral candidates speak at a public safety forum Thursday evening, Sept. 16, 2021 in Downtown Atlanta. Ben Gray for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s poll of 842 likely voters in the Atlanta mayor’s race found Council President Felicia Moore and former mayor Kasim Reed the breakaway leaders, and engaged in a razor-thin race that falls within the poll’s margin of error.

And those top-line percentages are always critical when examining the overall horse race.

But the poll’s cross-tabs show the particular groups from which the candidates are drawing support. That could be especially important in this race, with 41% of likely voters still undecided and as the candidates craft their messages to shore up support.

Reed and Moore draw double-digit support across all 12 categories in the AJC poll — liberal, moderate, conservative, Republican, Democrat, Independent and six income brackets from under $25,000 to over $150,000. Moore topped Reed with liberals (20-16%), Republicans (29-20%), Independents (29-11%) and those making $100,000-149,999 (25-19%) and over $150,000 (26-17%).

Reed, whose is under water by 9 percentage points with his top-line unfavorability rating (43-34%), holds a dominant lead over Moore among conservatives (35-19%) and the three lowest income brackets — under $25,000, (49-21%), $25,000-$49,999 (30-12%) and $50,000-74,999 (25-16%).

None of the other candidates come close to Reed and Moore in any category — except for Sharon Gay.

A Dentons attorney, Gay hit 11% support among Republicans, and she matched Moore’s 12% with people making $25,000-49,999. Gay came in third place in the AJC poll, registering 6.2%, which is still within the poll’s margin of error and a statistical tie with Councilmen Andre Dickens (5.7%) and Antonio Brown (4%).

Perhaps most important of all as the horse race heads into the final stretch: The largest percentages of undecided voters. They are liberals (47%), people with incomes of $50,000-74,999 (47%), Independents (45%), people with incomes of $75,000-$99,999 (44%) and people with incomes of over $150,000 (40%). The full poll is available on our website.


Some of Atlanta’s former mayors are publicly commenting on Reed’s candidacy.

Former U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young’s aide posted a video on Facebook that showed Young encouraging the group of faith-based leaders “to pray [for] and to support” Reed.

“We need a mayor that understands the kind of things that Kasim has been throwing around,” Young said.

But former mayor Shirley Franklin posted on Instagram that Atlanta needs “#anybodybutreed.”

Reed pledged to hire a cabinet-level “czar” for senior citizen affairs if he’s elected. He also promised summer employment for every teenager in Atlanta, and to create a 100-day “volunteer amnesty” period for residents to clean their records, unless they have a DUI.

Meanwhile, Reed is stockpiling for the runoff. Jamie Foxx and Chaka Zulu will be hosting a $2,000-per-guest event for Reed days after Steve Harvey and Akon hosted a $2,000-per-guest brunch for him.


Dickens discussed his “S.A.F.E. Streets Atlanta” public safety plan during a press conference Monday.

The councilman said He wants to hire 250 officers in 2022 and 400 more in 2023. He wants to target gang leaders and gun traffickers while employing community policing tactics. He also wants to recruit first responders from HBCUs.

Dickens recently released his first campaign ad called “Adamsville,” after his native neighborhood. If elected as mayor, he promised to repeat what he did when he “ran for city council against corruption and won.”

A spokesman for Dickens said his campaign dropped $400,000 on the 30-second ad.


080421 Atlanta: Mayoral candidates Councilman Antonio Brown (left) and former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed share a laugh before the start of 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@

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Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@


What’s coming up:

- The TransFormation Alliance and several other organizations are hosting a series of virtual forums for Atlanta’s City Hall candidates. Register at Eventbrite to hear from the unopposed council candidates at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

- The NAACP, Friendship Baptist Church, and National Pan-Hellenic Council is hosting a forum for the candidates running for city council president and the council’s at-large seats. Register at Eventbrite to watch the forum online or in person at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

- A coalition of housing and transportation-focused organizations, such as Beltline Rail Now, is hosting a candidate forum for district 6. Watch it at 6 p.m. Wednesday online.

- The Atlanta Police Foundation is hosting an “At-Promise Youth Forum: Mayoral Edition” on Thursday.

- The Old Fourth Ward Business Association is hosting a forum for the city council president candidates. Register online at Eventbrite to watch it online at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.

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