The Race for City Hall: A week of qualifying ends with 14 on the ballot for mayor



A weekly roundup of the most important things you need to know about the Atlanta mayor’s race

The ballot is set. We now have the final list of who will be running for mayor, and we move into a new stage of the campaign — one where candidates are more willing to take direct shots at their opponents.

That was evident last week when Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore and former Mayor Kasim Reed showed up to City Hall around the same time to file the paperwork to get their names on the ballot.

Stay up to date

Sign up for our free daily politics newsletter and get notified when new editions of “The Race for City Hall” are posted.

Their supporters stood in the rain waving signs and chanting for their preferred candidates; several of Reed’s supporters even yelled over Moore when she tried to speak to reporters, chanting “We are with Kasim!”

Moore later used the moment to take a jab at the former mayor.

In a Wednesday fundraising email to supporters, she didn’t mention Reed by name, but wrote that “some candidates in this race care more about shouting down people who disagree with them or have held them accountable in the past ... Attacks and disrespectful displays like this are just the beginning.”

Sharon Gay’s camp also released a statement on the issue and targeted Reed, saying “The former mayor seems to have a problem with strong women leaders.”

A spokeswoman for Reed, who was inside City Hall when Moore was talking to the media, said Reed appreciates his supporters and their enthusiasm. In a statement, the spokeswoman said Moore and the PAC that supports her “thus far have run a very personal and negative campaign against Kasim with false and misleading accusations. However, if she is prepared to promise that she, her campaign, and her Super PAC, will run a 100% positive campaign, then we will agree to do the same.”

Credit: Courtesy of the Andre for Atlanta Campaign

Credit: Courtesy of the Andre for Atlanta Campaign

Later on Tuesday, Councilman Andre Dickens stood with his mother and other supporters to celebrate qualifying to run for mayor. Dickens promised to be “the jobs mayor” with “a smarter, more balanced approach” in addressing crime and poverty.

Gay qualified with a smaller entourage on Tuesday; she told us she understands the fanfare, but she’s more focused on doing the work. And when Councilman Antonio Brown qualified late on Friday, he said the race is about residents “that have been left behind for far too long.”

Here’s a full list of all the candidates running for mayor.

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer


The former field director for Moore’s mayoral campaign submitted a resignation letter last week that claimed Moore’s campaign manager mistreated her. Erika Guy was hired in July to coordinate voter outreach via door canvassing and phone calls, according to the Aug. 16 letter obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Guy wrote in her resignation that she endured “constant berating and disrespect.” She wrote that she was “snapped at” and called “Erika boo” in a condescending manner by the campaign manager. Guy said Moore was “blindsided” after Guy told the candidate about these issues and Moore did apologize to Guy for her experience on the campaign.

“People in neighborhoods all over Atlanta love Felicia Moore, but her team is really doing her a disservice,” Guy said.

Moore’s campaign spokeswoman declined to comment.


When the current City Council was sworn in four years ago, seven of its 15 members were new to their roles. We could see just as much turnover this year, thanks to another open mayor’s race and the decision by several councilmembers to not seek reelection.

With Councilwoman Jennifer Ide’s announcement last week that she is foregoing a second term, that makes three councilmembers who are not running for reelection. And with Natalyn Archibong running for council president, and Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown angling for the mayor’s office, a total of six council seats will be open this November. And nearly every incumbent has at least one challenger hoping to unseat them.

Some people running for open seats this year, though, wouldn’t be newcomers to the council. Former councilwoman and mayoral candidate Mary Norwood is running unopposed for a seat in Buckhead, and Alex Wan is vying for his old post in northeast Atlanta.

A mayor’s relationship with the council is crucial, since they need at least eight votes to approve pieces of their legislative agenda. The current council has been seen as more independent than previous installments, but at this point, it’s anyone’s guess what kind of council the next mayor will face in January.


What’s coming up:

- Over the next two weeks, look for councilmembers to hold more public engagement sessions on the proposal to build a police and fire training center at the site of the Atlanta old prison farm. Mayoral candidates Dickens and Brown both voted to hold the proposal until their next meeting Sept. 7.


ICYMI, there’s a brand new public park you can visit in northwest Atlanta. At 280 acres, Westside Park is Atlanta’s largest park and features breathtaking views of the Bellwood Quarry. Check it out!

You can now find all of our Atlanta elections coverage, including voter resources and candidate information at As always, please send any questions, story tips, or feedback to us at and We’ll be back next week with another edition of The Race for City Hall.


Wilborn P. Nobles III covers the Atlanta mayor's policies for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wil (not "Willie" or "William") previously covered Baltimore County government at The Baltimore Sun, but he never finished "The Wire." He also covered education for the Times-Picayune in his hometown of New Orleans, so he tries to avoid discussions about football. Wil used to play tuba for his high school marching band, but he eventually put down his horn to intern at The Washington Post. The Louisiana State University graduate enjoys gardening, comedy, and music.


J.D. Capelouto is a local news reporter covering City Hall and all things intown Atlanta for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. His work focuses the City Council, neighborhood issues, public safety, housing and transportation. J.D. was born and raised in Atlanta and has lived in the city all his life, except for four years at Boston University, where he studied journalism and learned how to dress for cold weather. He’s been with the AJC since 2018, and has previously written for The Boston Globe and the Thomson Reuters Foundation. When he’s not reporting or scrolling through Twitter, J.D. enjoys pop culture podcasts, “Survivor” and visiting various pools around Atlanta.