With all precincts reporting, Keisha Lance Bottoms appeared to have won the Atlanta mayor’s race, beating Mary Norwood.
Unofficial returns showed that Bottoms garnered 759 more votes than Norwood in the runoff election on Tuesday – a virtual repeat of the 2009 race when Mayor Kasim Reed defeated Norwood by 714 votes.
Norwood was unwilling to concede. She said that the absentee military ballots wouldn’t be counted until Thursday, that the campaign did not know how many provisional votes had been cast, and that it was unclear if votes from two precincts in recently annexed areas of DeKalb County had been counted.
“We can’t call this yet,” Norwood said, shortly after midnight to supporters. Norwood said that she would also ask for a recount.
At the same time Norwood was speaking, Bottoms was declaring victory at the Hyatt Regency in downtown.
“This is about Atlanta,” Bottoms said. “And what we said from Day One is that this is about what we hope this city can be for our children’s children.”
Bottoms then said she was honored to be Atlanta’s 60th mayor and only the second woman to hold the city’s top post.
Some voters said they made up their minds at the last minute, at the ballot box.
Travis Copeland arrived at his west end polling precinct with his decision for Atlanta mayor still up in the air.
He said he wanted to see the city “continue on the path that it’s on” — but that didn’t mean he was going to back Bottoms.
“I’m a maybe for Bottoms at best,” said Copeland, a 30-year-old who works in the airline industry. “But progress is important, especially in the southside. We’re lagging behind, and we need new development.”