Qualifying ends at 4:30 p.m. for those hoping to be Atlanta’s next mayor.
Most of the major candidates -- those with strong financial backing -- qualified throughout the week with rallies before and after declaring their intentions to succeed Kasim Reed as mayor of Atlanta.
“Atlanta is at a critical juncture,” state Sen. Vincent Fort said Wednesday at a rally outside City Hall before qualifying. “The real question on the ballot is, ‘Are we going to have a City Hall for the 1 percent or are we going to have a City Hall that works for the 99 percent.’”
Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who is the frontrunner in the race according to polls, said if elected she will focus on transparency and accountability and promote a responsive government.
“I have stated during this campaign that our people are better than our politics,” Norwood said in a release. “I want to provide the leadership that makes our politics as wonderful as the people we serve. As your next mayor, I will dedicate all my energy to leading a well-run city that will be Atlanta at its best.”
Qualifying is traditionally seen as an unofficial kickoff of the campaign season because it’s when candidates — especially those who already hold office and will have to relinquish their seats — decide whether they have the campaign infrastructure and the cash to stick with a long fall run.
Michael T. Sterling, the former director of the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, said he plans to qualify on Friday.
Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves, who has led the county since 2007, resigned from his position on Tuesday and qualified on Wednesday. Eaves had a year and four months remaining in his term.
Perennial candidate Elbert “Al” Bartell announced on Tuesday he was dropping out of the race and would instead focus on running for a U.S. Senate seat in 2020.
Qualifying began on Tuesday with Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms, Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell and Norwood jumping in.
Former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard and former city of Atlanta COO Peter Aman qualified on Thursday.
In a Facebook post, Aman said, “Qualified and proud to stand with my family and my team. Today at City Hall, we made it clear that we’re in this race to win. Across Atlanta, we’ve heard from people who want a mayor with the will and the skill to collaborate and led the city at a time of major change.”
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