State Sen. Vincent Fort Considering Run for Mayor of Atlanta in 2017
(APN) ATLANTA — State Sen. Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) is considering a run for Mayor of Atlanta in 2017, he told multiple reporters for Atlanta Progressive News, when he attended APN’s ten year anniversary party on Sunday, November 09, 2015.
He also announced that he will run for reelection as State Senator in 2016, during a speech he gave at the party.
It’s not a contradiction, he said, noting that Mayor Kasim Reed ran for reelection to the State senate in 2008 before running for Mayor in 2009.
With the announcement, he instantly becomes one of the most progressive potential candidates in the already-crowded race.
Fort, 59, has served in the State Senate since 1996.
In 2009, he considered running for Atlanta Council President or Mayor, but decided to stay in the State Senate at that time.
“I’m not being coy. I’m considering it. My priority is 2016 the Legislative Session and making sure that my district and its constituents and people citywide are protected from the ravages of right wing extremism,” Fort told APN.
“I’m putting together a legislative package. So before any decision about [running for Mayor]… one of the things that I’m not going to do, that others have done, who have prioritized their ambitions over the interests of the people they’re supposed to be serving…” Fort said.
AN EXTENSIVE PROGRESSIVE RECORD
Fort has been one of the most progressive outspoken elected officials in the Metro Atlanta area, and APN has covered Fort’s efforts to address many issues of social justice.
Just a small sampling of recent APN articles featuring Sen. Fort include:
In 2010, APN endorsed Sen. Fort for reelection to the State Senate, when he received a Primary challenge by Graham Balch. At that time, we recounted numerous examples of Fort’s progressive activism as well.
SEVERAL CANDIDATES ALREADY ANNOUNCED, EXPLORING, CONSIDERING, OR SUBJECT OF SPECULATION
Fort joins a crowded field of announced candidates and potential candidates:
Former City Council President Cathy Woolard became the first to officially announce she is running on March 12, 2015. Woolard served as District 6 Councilwoman, then Council President. She then resigned as Council President to run for U.S. Congress, against U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA).
As previously reported, Woolard served on the Atlanta Beltline, Inc., Board of Directors, where she recently approved a budget with no money to repay the money that is owed to Atlanta Public Schools.
Council President Ceasar Mitchell also a potential candidate.
“I’m certainly considering it, but I haven’t made an announcements yet,” he told APN.
Mitchell originally was running for Mayor in 2009, but then ran for Council President instead.
Councilman Kwanza Hall (District 2) is also expected to run.
“We have started an exploratory committee. People all over the city have said I’d make a great mayor. I’m humbled that people would think that,” Hall told APN.
State Rep. Margaret Kaiser (D-Atlanta) is expected to run; at least three candidates have already started lining up to run for her State House seat, District 59, in 2016.
APN was first to report that she was interested in the Mayoral race, four years ahead of time, in 2013.
“I can be more effective in that role than I could be in the Legislature for ten more years. Let young people come in… it’s an opportunity for new blood to come in,” Kaiser told APN today.
As far as running for Mayor, “That’s my plan… I haven’t announced formally,” she said.
“It’s not a decision that should be made for political purposes… It’s not a decision that should be made lightly,” Kaiser said.
The word on the street is also that Peter Aman, former Chief Operating Officer of the City of Atlanta, intends to run, and will likely have the backing of Mayor Kasim Reed.
There is also speculation that Councilwoman Mary Norwood (Post 2-at-large) may run for Mayor.
Norwood has told several people that she is not planning on running for Mayor in 2017, but that is not necessarily the case, seeing as how she similarly told people she was not running for Post 2 in 2013, but entered the race at almost the last minute, unseating Aaron Watson.
Norwood narrowly lost in a Run-off Election for Mayor of Atlanta in 2009, a race in which she received the endorsement of Atlanta Progressive News.
Two sources familiar with the matter have told APN that Fulton County Chairman John Eaves may run for Mayor of Atlanta, after he has had several public disagreements with Mayor Reed over the last few years.
Eaves, however, did not respond to several inquiries related to the matter from APN that were made in the past few months.
Former Fulton Commissioner Robb Pitts–who was essentially forced to run against Eaves for the Chairman position in 2014 when the Legislature replaced one of two at-large seats with a district seat–appears to be campaigning for something, possibly Mayor of Atlanta. Eaves narrowly defeated Pitts in 2014.
Pitts is sending out a lot of newsletters and making many public appearances, particularly for someone who is not currently in office.
According to sources, Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11) has also been talking with colleagues about the possibility of running for a citywide position, which could be Mayor or Council President. Bottoms did not immediately return a text message seeking comment.
Oh my, if Reed wants to remain in office as mayor, he may have to take some official action other than casting people out of their homes.
Kasim Reed is ineligible to run for mayor in 2017. The mayor of Atlanta may serve two consecutive terms, no more. He will, however, be eligible to run again in 2021, should he wish. (Maynard Jackson served as mayor 1974-82, then again 1990-94.)
Will be an interesting city election.
Who has best served the people and not themselves or the ever present special interests?