William Boone, an associate professor of political science at Clark-Atlanta University, said any revelations linking the investigation to specific office seekers would most likely clear the crowded deck.
“(Those candidates) may decide to rethink their decision,” Boone said of anyone ensnared in the probe.
Demographics may make it easier for Atlanta to elect its first white mayor in four decades. The large number of African American candidates could split the black vote just as Atlanta's ratio of white voters has reached around 44 percent, the experts said.
“There are many, many people who want to see (black mayoral leadership) continue at least symbolically,” said Harvey Newman, professor emeritus at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University. “And yet none of the African-American candidates are willing to concede to any of the others … and everybody just forges ahead.
“The ultimate irony would be if that resulted in the emergence of two white candidates in the runoff pool,” he said.
The mayoral candidates include state Sen. Vincent Fort, Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood, former Atlanta Workforce Development Agency director Michael T. Sterling and former Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves.
In addition, Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard and former city of Atlanta COO Peter Aman qualified.
The remaining mayoral candidates are Rohit Ammanamanchi, Laban King, Carl A. Jackson and Glenn S. Wrightson.
The candidates who qualified for Atlanta City Council President are Felicia Moore, Alex Wan and C.T. Martin.
In the city council race, 30 people qualified to run for six seats vacated by the decisions of Hall, Bottoms, and Norwood to run for mayor and by Moore, Wan, and Martin to seek promotion to council president. City Councilwoman Yolanda Adrean also is vacating her seat. Each of the remaining city councilmembers also qualified and all have challengers except Andre Dickens.
There are 16 Atlanta City Councilmembers, including the Council President.
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