Atlanta City Council President, Post 3 Races Advance to Run-offs (UPDATE 1)
Graphic by Adrian Paulette Coleman, Atlanta Progressive News.
(APN) ATLANTA – In the 2021 General Municipal Elections, the races for Council President and Post 3-at-large are heading to a Run-off Election on Nov. 30, 2021, along with Districts 1, 3, 4, 5, and 12.
Meanwhile, several incumbent Councilmembers were reelected, former Councilman Alex Wan (District 6) was elected to his former seat, and former Councilwoman Mary Norwood (Post 2-at-large) was elected to the District 8 seat.
Previously, in Part One we reviewed the Mayor’s race. This article, Part Two, reviews the races for Council President; and at-large Posts 1, 2, and 3.
Stay tuned for Part Three that will review Districts 1 through 12.
Shipman had strong support from Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhoods, while Archibong drew from East Atlanta and DeKalb County.
As previously reported by APN, Shipman generally promised to support democracy, transparency, and public comment, while he lacked detailed plans for, and seemed to lack information regarding, several issues of Council process.
Archibong, on the other hand, has more experience and knowledge regarding Council process, but has taken problematic votes on democracy, transparency, and public comment; and she has been unresponsive.
Former Atlanta Public Schools Board of Education Member Courtney English had 25.1 percent of the vote, while Mike Russell had 13.2 percent and Sam Manuel had 2.8 percent.
“We’re satisfied with the results,” Councilman Bond told Atlanta Progressive News.
“I’m very indebted to the people of Atlanta for having confidence in my service and being willing to allow me to continue to serve,” Bond said.
“They were familiar with me, and they approved of my service. This is a privilege, it’s not automatic, and people don’t have to let you do it,” Bond said.
“We’re going to continue to work on public safety issues, affordable housing issues, and trying to deal with the problem of providing more opportunities for our youth in the City,” Bond said.
“These are the things I heard from the people on the campaign,” Bond said.
“I believe we’ve got the mandate from people to continue to pursue that agenda,” Bond said.
Councilman Matt Westmoreland (Post 2-at-large) was reelected with 64.7 percent of the vote, defeating Sonya Russell-Ofchus, who had 35.3 percent.
Former Rep. Waites received 29.5 percent of the vote.
She is in a Run-off with Jacki Labat, the District 11 socialite and wife of Fulton County Sheriff Pat Labat, who received 19.7 percent of the vote.
Interestingly, Labat’s support came from Buckhead; and District 11, or southwest Atlanta.
The irony of this is that District 11 is generally the heart of the political machine, while Buckhead is the heart of the anti-machine. Somehow, both Buckhead voters and District 11 voters believe Labat will represent their interests.
Former Rep. Waites’s support came from the rest of the City.
Jodi Merriday, who had raised over one hundred thousand dollars, received 19.7 precent of the vote; former State Rep. Ralph Long (D-Atlanta) received 14.5 percent of the vote; and Sherry B. Williams received 11.6 percent.
“The conversation I’ve had in the last few months, I’ve had it over decades: How do we serve underserved communities, people who have never been seated at the table?” she said.
“Our City has prospered in many ways, but there are challenges I see with our seniors and our legacy residents. If we don’t stand for them, when they come for us, there won’t be anyone to advocate. So we have an obligation to do the people’s work,” she said.
“For far too long the representatives that we’ve sent to advocate on our behalf have done us a disservice. It’s apparent that City Hall is a mess. This culture of pay-to-play, the cronyism, the nepotism,” she said.
“Post 3 for some is about the swing vote,” Waites said, noting that Labat is a likely vote for the political machine.
“Felicia Moore makes it clear she intends to rebid every airport contract,” if Moore is elected Mayor. “For some, this race is about money,” Waites said.
“The difference between the two of us – I come to this table ready day one with policy and legislative experience,” Waites said.
“Given the volatile relationship between the City and the State, you have to know what a fiscal note is. You have to know the process. I can be an olive branch to the State. You’ve got Buckhead wanting to break off, you’ve got a possible airport takeover,” Waites said.
“This is not the time for on the job training.”
“You say one thing on one side of town, and another thing on another side of town. My campaign has had the same message from Bankhead to Buckhead,” Waites said.
“We have the possibility of the jail being sold. You can’t tell me there isn’t a conflict of interest in that conversation,” Waites said.
“Fulton County is interested in the city jail. I’ve been running against the Sheriff of Fulton County for the last four months,” Waites said.
“Will Mrs. Labat be able to vote independently without thinking about the implications of your spouse? How can you represent the interests of 600,000 people when your husband is the sheriff of the county?”
Former Rep. Waites, of note, has run several times for various offices, frequently getting into Run-offs. She almost was elected Chair of Fulton County, twice, in 2006 and 2013; she almost just unseated U.S. Rep. David Scott in the Democratic Primary in 2020.
“People say, you run all the time. And my numbers reflect the will of the voters.”
(END / Copyright Atlanta Progressive News / 2021)
UPDATE 1: A previous version of this article omitted the percentage of votes received by Jodi Merriday in Post 3-at-large; the article has been amended to add the percentage and note Merriday’s fundraising.