James Sept-Oct 2021 web - Flipbook - Page 56
his tenure as evidence that he can keep citizens safe.
Having about $1,000,000 on hand and widespread name
recognition make Reed the current frontrunner.
The only white candidate is Sharon Gay. Attorney Gay is a partner at
Dentons, the world’s
largest law firm, where
she specializes in
issues relevant to city
as zoning, taxes and
land use. Her work in
Atlanta has included
Atlantic Station and Ponce
City Market. She served as
R E E D counsel to former Atlanta mayor
Bill Campbell. Gay’s campaign has almost $1,000,000, a
large portion of which she chipped in.
All of the candidates but Gay have held office in
Atlanta and Moore, Reed and Dickens have won citywide
which gives them valuable name identification. Gay argues that her outsider status provides a new perspective,
a theme that has worked well for others recently including
now U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock.
When Atlanta mayoral contests lack an incumbent,
the selection process has extended to a runoff and that
seems likely again in 2021. Both the 2009 and 2017 runoffs
featured a black and a white candidate. Rigid racial voting will not occur, but with Atlanta roughly evenly divided
between blacks and whites, it would not be surprising to
see Gay and a black candidate advance to a runoff.
The emphasis on crime and its
prevention are likely to overshadow discussion of how
the candidates would
address Atlanta’s other
needs: How to repair
infrastructure; what to
do about traffic; how to
provide affordable housing; whether to permit
multifamily housing in
what have been single-family neighborhoods; how to
tamp down the Buckhead breakGAY
away movement. The new occupant
of City Hall will have to address these issues, but many
voters will know little of how the candidates would meet
Charles S. Bullock, III, is Distinguished Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. He recently published the
second edition of Redistricting: The Most Political Activity in America.
continued on page 38
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