Business heavyweights weigh in on Atlanta’s crowded mayor race

Nine of the leading candidates in Atlanta’s race for mayor. AJC file.

A prominent business coalition released ratings Monday on Atlanta’s mayor race, giving high marks to a quintet of candidates and solid reviews for two others in the crowded and volatile race.

It was just as notable for who was left out: City Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who is leading in the polls and did not participate in the coalition’s vetting process.

The scores were published Monday by the Committee for a Better Atlanta, a group of more than 40 companies, civic institutions and business organizations that has vetted candidates in every city election since 1996.

For this contest, the committee coordinated forums, pored through in-person questionnaires and conducted in-person interviews. Though they are not endorsements, the ratings are likely to be heavily promoted by the candidates who scored highly – and ignored by those who didn’t.

The highest score went to Peter Aman, the former Atlanta chief operating officer who is among the leading contenders for the Nov. 7 race. Polls show he and a trio of other contenders in a tight race for a spot in the December runoff against Norwood, who has held double-digit leads over her nearest rival.

Also nabbing “excellent” ratings were former City Council President Cathy Woolard, current City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, ex-Fulton County chair John Eaves and City Councilman Kwanza Hall.

Former city official Michael Sterling and Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms both earned “well qualified” reviews.

Four little-known candidates each were judged as unqualified by the business group. And two others – Norwood and former state Sen. Vincent Fort – did not participate.

Fort’s decision was not surprising, given that he has run as a Bernie Sanders-style populist who rails against the greed of corporate tycoons. But Norwood has enjoyed support from the state’s business leaders, including many who have donated to her campaign.

The candidates were surveyed on a range of questions, including plans to ensure public safety, ease traffic gridlock and narrow the income inequality gap. They were also asked their plans to protect against corruption and “pay to play” practices – an issue that’s clouded the race amid a federal probe.

You can find the candidates’ answers to the questionnaires here.

Dozens of candidates for City Council races also were rated. In the three-way race between a trio of councilmembers for Council President, Alex Wan and Felicia Moore both got “excellent” marks while C.T. Martin was rated as “well-qualified.”

More: Atlanta mayor’s race: A wide-open contest that will shape the region

See a snapshot of the ratings below:

Reader Comments 1

8 comments
EdGraham
EdGraham

Mary Norwood would be a superb mayor but, just as they did to her in 2009, the black power elite in the city will ensure that the next mayor is black.

Babycat
Babycat

Norwood is the only one with the common sense to run the city!

justhetruth2017
justhetruth2017

 they want Aman because he will do and say anything to get elected. Unfortunately he wont even make the runoff because he has 0 votes on the southside. 0. his only base is a very small slice of Buckhead. He will get about 2-3 % of the vote. Its going to be a Norwood /Fort race. 

zegnucirta
zegnucirta

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MikeKoblentz
MikeKoblentz

I think business in Atlanta has had a good run the last many years, and we should not shed any tears for them. I think they have done very well. But they haven't done anything to really make a dent in a major city (I understand) that has the biggest wage and wealth disparity in the country. The two candidates who I am backing have by far the biggest links to neighborhoods-Norwood and Fort, If business leaders would relax a bit, they are both capable of working with the Atlanta business community but will reverse the last 8 years where neighborhoods got short shrift be it Fort McPherson, Moored Mill Rd development, the Falcons benefits deal, Turner Field and on and on. A Norwood or a Fort administration would not only have the neighborhoods at the table but would take their,views into consideration. Norwood has strong roots in southwest and southeast Atlanta over the last 20 years and is not making her debut because it's election time. The bond between her and folks in all-four quadrants of Atlanta is real and substantive. Vincent Fort takes on causes that nobody will touch and perhaps to,the surprise of some has gotten legislation through a very Republican legislature. Remember the slogan what's good for General.Motors is good for,the US. I think these 2 candidates are good,for,business AND neighborhoods and that is really good forAtlanta. It's time for a different model in how to run Atlanta.

yaluvi
yaluvi

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Archangel
Archangel

They want Aman and Norwood is his biggest threat.

Golden57
Golden57

Looks like Aman and Wan got the two highest scores of the whole thing!

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