Mayor Reed Loses Nod Squad in 2013 Council Elections
(APN) ATLANTA — Two incumbent Atlanta City Councilmembers, Aaron Watson (Post 2-at-large) and Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large), were sent home in last night’s City of Atlanta Municipal Elections.
Meanwhile, progressives Natalyn Archibong (District 5) and Felicia Moore (District 9) were reelected. Archibong had three challengers, while Moore had two challengers including one backed by Mayor Kasim Reed.
The result is that Mayor Reed has lost his legislative “nod squad,” the solid eight votes that he has relied on to pass many of his legislative agenda items the last four years.
In the last four years, generally solid Reed votes included Carla Smith (District 1), Ivory Young (District 3), Cleta Winslow (District 4), Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11), Joyce Sheperd (District 12), Watson, Willis, and more often that not, CT Martin (District 10).
With the departure of Watson and Willis, that group of eight is reduced to six, again, with Martin not a solid Reed vote.
Councilman Michael Julian Bond (Post 1-at-large) has also increasingly supported Mayor Reed over the last two years. But even with Smith, Young, Winslow, Bottoms, Sheperd, Martin, and Bond, Reed would still only have seven solid votes.
That shifts the power to the more independent group of Councilmembers, including several progressives, to significantly amend, or oppose, Reed’s legislative agenda.
The City of Atlanta is up for a charter review in the next term, and, according to a sources, the Council may consider making changes to the number of Council seats as well as how the Council President is elected.
In recent weeks and months, Reed lobbied hard for Watson and Willis, and against Moore.
According to sources, Reed–either through his campaign fund, or through the PAC he leads along with Atlanta’s corporate leaders, Atlanta Committee for Progress–funded a vicious attack mailer through the Democratic Party of Georgia against Mary Norwood, falsely claiming that she was a Republican.
For example, Ricardo Mosby, the District 9 candidate backed by Reed to challenge Moore, received a 2,500 dollar contribution from the Mayor’s campaign during the last month of the race.
Mosby told APN in a phone interview that his campaign also received money from Reed’s PAC during the most recent disclosure period; however, the contribution is not disclosed in Mosby’s most recent disclosure.
Georgia Pacific, the Atlanta-based corporation owned by the ultra-ring wing Koch Brothers, were one of the many corporate donors to Reed’s PAC.
MAYOR OF ATLANTA
Reed was reelected with 84.11 percent of the vote. Al Bartell received 5.35 percent, Glenn Wrightson received 4.92 percent, and Fraser Duke received 4.44 percent.
Ceasar Mitchell was reelected with 79.79 percent of the vote. Rachele Fruit received 19.67 percent.
Michael Julian Bond was reelected and had no opponent.
Mary Norwood was reelected to her old Council seat, with 52.75 of the vote, unseating Aaron Watson, who received 47.13 percent.
“I am just thrilled the citizens chose to have me serve them again. It was amazing, it was such a grassroots campaign all over the city. We had over one hundred people at the campaign headquarters last night, the wonderful representation of our city as it is – great diversity and fun and energy and it was amazing. It’s a great city and great people that live in it,” Norwood said.
Norwood was not surprised by the DPG attack mailers.
“I had been attacked four years ago. I made the decision that we were not going to respond to those attacks. Responses had been made before and there was no reason to do that. So we didn’t. We heard there were even more attacks,” Norwood said.
“Campaigns are hard, campaigns are tough. We stayed positive, we stayed on message,” Norwood said.
Andre Dickens will be a new face on Council. He received 52.77 of the vote, unseating Lamar Willis, who received 46.79 percent.
Willis was one of the least progressive Members of Council, was known for verbally attacking citizens and city workers, and had the most appalling ethics record of any City Councilmember. Most recently, he was disbarred for converting settlement funds intended for an injured child to personal use.
Dickens, who received support from former Mayor Shirley Franklin, appears to be moderate, and is a novice to many issues of public policy. Still, he can be expected to be independent from the Reed machine, especially after Willis–with financial help from Reed–viciously attacked Dickens during the campaign.
“I am excited and thankful for what has been the result of a long hard fought race. This thing got ugly at times, it was long and drawn out. At the end of the day, the people of Atlanta have spoken. It’s definitely a new day in Atlanta,” Dickens said.
“It’s been a big learning process for me. I have some things I knew instinctively, I had some things I had to learn. I’m happy people were willing to share with me their vision, their thoughts. I’ve grateful for folks who gave me the opportunity to learn from them and listen to them,” Dickens said.
Carla Smith was reelected with 77.33 percent of the vote, while Robert Welsh received 15.87 percent and Bill Powell received 6.71 percent.
Kwanza Hall was reelected with no challenger.
Ivory Young was reelected with 75.1 percent of the vote, while Patricia Crayton received 13 percent and Rev. Darrion Fletcher received 11.56 percent.
Cleta Winslow was reelected with 68.75 percent of the vote, while Torry Lewis received 31.02 percent.
Natalyn Archibong was reelected with 62.3 percent of the vote, while Christian Enterkin received 25.73 percent, Matt Rinker received 6.69 percent, and John Paul Michalik received 2.46 percent. Jon Jones, who had dropped out of the race to endorse Archibong, still received 2.48 percent.
The District 5 race became quite tumultuous in the final weeks, with Enterkin and Rinker making false and misleading accusations about Archibong; Enterkin making false accusations about APN’s News Editor, the present writer; Archibong filing a defamation lawsuit against Enterkin and Rinker, which is still pending; and John Paul Michalik appearing throughout the District dressing up as Hulk Hogan, an idiosyncratic professional wrestler, for the last couple weeks.
“I am excited and I am also humbled at the trust the voters of District 5 placed in me in giving me another term as their elected representative,” Archibong told APN.
“The contest was the first time in twelve years where we had so many people offer themselves for this District 5 seat, and so this election season was hotly contested. There was a lot of negative campaigning that I think was offensive to the majority of the district,” Archibong said.
“The most disappointing part of the election was the lack of real conversation around issues, from the folks who were offering themselves to serve. There was no real sharing of a vision. Instead of that, we had a divisive, mean-spirited, personal attacks on contenders, kind of election,” Archibong said.
“I am the representative of the constituents in District 5 and I will be be voting in accordance with what I understand to be in their best interests. I am not interested in being part of a group that’s in lock-step with anybody,” she said.
“I hope that my colleagues will be an independent vote on behalf of the citizens of Atlanta as well,” she said.
Archibong received support from Mayor Reed and the PAC, despite her independent and progressive record, but she says she was not surprised and insists she will remain independent.
“I think that anyone or any entity interested in good, independent government will be supportive of me. I wasn’t surprised, because I did believe I was the best candidate in my race,” she said.
Rinker falsely claimed in a mailer that Archibong had “laundered” money through her brother’s company. In fact, Archibong had paid a vendor to her Council office by passing the payment through her brother’s company, because the vendor lacked a checking account. Laundering money, on the other hand, would be taking illegally-obtained money and funneling it through what appear to be legal means.
Enterkin claimed, among other things, that “My opponent [Archibong] has paid $1400 for a ‘News’ story attacking me – this makes me further question her character. Atlanta, we deserve better!” Enterkin was referring to Archibong’s purchase of political advertising with APN, falsely asserting that it was the factual cause of APN writing an article pointing out Enterkin’s conflict of interest involving cell phone towers and billboards.
Archibong filed a defamation lawsuit against Rinker and Enterkin, seeking an emergency injunction. The DeKalb Superior Court Judge denied the injunction; however, the case still stands.
APN’s News Editor–the present writer–is currently exploring legal options involving Enterkin, on the basis of her defamatory statements, and possibly other parties as well.
Alex Wan was reelected with 76.24 percent of the vote, while Mike Boyle received 14.06 percent and Tracey Austin received 9.44 percent.
Howard Shook was reelected with 72.06 percent of the vote, while Abid Haque received 19.35 percent, and Bobby Montgomery received 8.31 percent.
Yolanda Adrean was reelected without opposition.
Felicia Moore was reelected with 68.96 percent of the vote, while Mosby received 25.34 percent, and Duwon Robinson received 5.63 percent.
“I’m of course happy that voters in District 9 would send me back again, I was pretty certain that would be the case. I’ve worked hard for them and I appreciate them supporting me,” Moore said.
“I would suspect the Mayor felt that I do not support his initiatives or him in some way. I think he doesn’t care for independence of thought and he would have liked to have people he felt he was more in line with; I was not one of them,” Moore said.
“I was the only sitting Councilmember he was actively trying to unseat. He spent a considerable amount of money and resources in my district, campaigning for his recruited candidate to win. My voters are smarter than that and he was extremely unsuccessful,” Moore said.
“I think with the addition of two new members [Norwood and Dickens], it helps us to have an opportunity to vet issues more closely and really to be able to make decisions that are not necessarily in line with what he wants, and not necessarily against what he wants. But give us a chance to do our work. It will slow a sometimes rushed process,” Moore said.
Mosby had yard signs throughout District 9 that stated, “No Moore.”
“I am proud to be serving for four Moore, M-o-o-r-e, years,” she told APN.
CT Martin was reelected without opposition.
Keisha Lance Bottoms was reelected with 88.96 percent of the vote, while Ron Shakir received 10.93 percent.
Joyce Sheperd was reelected without opposition.