Georgia’s Democratic establishment starts to rally behind Bottoms in Atlanta mayor race

Atlanta Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms was endorsed by state Rep. Pat Gardner, former state Sen. Jason Carter, state Sen. Elena Parent, state Rep. David Dreyer and former state Rep. Kathy Ashe. (AJC/Greg Bluestein)

Georgia’s Democratic establishment is stepping up its efforts to rally supporters behind Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms’ campaign for Atlanta mayor, a technically nonpartisan race that is taking on more partisan undertones as the December runoff nears.

A half-dozen current and former Democratic lawmakers from within the city’s limits endorsed Bottoms on Monday, each mentioning her party affiliation or remarking that she shares common ideological values as reason for their support.

“I have known Keisha Lance Bottoms for a long time, and when she says we are partners I am telling the truth,” said former state Sen. Jason Carter, the 2014 Democratic candidate for governor. “The City of Atlanta is not going to embrace someone who stands with Donald Trump.”

Democrats are trying to consolidate behind Bottoms ahead of the Dec. 5 runoff with Councilwoman Mary Norwood, an independent candidate who her opponents have tried to paint as a “closet Republican” since her narrow 2009 defeat to Kasim Reed.

Norwood has staked her campaign on her vow to work across party lines as she tries to appeal to north Atlanta conservatives and other voters uncomfortable with Bottoms’ ties to Reed. She calls herself a “progressive independent” and has blasted Bottoms for pushing “inaccurate” information.

“She votes for the person, not just the party. She voted for Barack Obama twice and Hillary Clinton last year for president,” said her campaign spokesman Billy Linville. “She is pro-choice and was one of the first city officials to support marriage equality.”

The endorsements Monday are among a spate of signs that different factions of the Democratic Party are starting to align behind Bottoms.

Reed, who often had a testy relationship with Carter, endorsed the councilwoman weeks ago. And the Democratic Party of Georgia, led by former House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, has steadily stepped up its campaign against Norwood.

Still unknown is how other Democratic leaders will play in the race. Former Gov. Roy Barnes backed former state Sen. Vincent Fort’s unsuccessful mayoral bid, and both have so far stayed out of the runoff. So have Stacey Abrams and Stacey Evans, the party’s two contenders for governor. And Cathy Woolard, the third-place finisher in the Nov. 8 vote, is holding an event next week to help hash out her decision.

Carter was joined by four other veteran Democrats at Monday’s announcement: Former state Rep. Kathy Ashe, state Reps. David Dreyer and Pat Gardner, and state Sen. Elena Parent. State Rep. Park Cannon also announced her endorsement, though was not at the event.

“When I go to decide who I’m going to vote for, I look for someone who holds the values that I hold dear,” said Gardner. “I have watched Keisha Lance Bottoms with a steady hand. And that’s what we need for the city.”

Reader Comments 2

10 comments
Chris Lariot
Chris Lariot

It is really discouraging when promising young leaders like Stacey Abrams and Keisha Bottoms engage in unscrupulous financial dealings and essentially sully their reputations AND more importantly contribute to the trope of Black politicians as corrupt. Shame on both of you for not having the integrity to play by the rules, and refrain from enriching yourselves while in office. Nobody should vote for a corrupt candidate just because they are of the same race or gender as you. The voters need to at the very least be able to trust their leaders and the recent corruption in the mayors office is just really disappointing and embarrassing. 

JimC
JimC

I like Jason Carter but he was wrong to call Mary Norwood a Trump Republican. I don’t know many republicans that are Trump republicans. The problem is not Mary, she is a nice person. The problem is vast majority of her supporters are conservatives. That is a major problem for me. I don’t hate people for their political views as a matter of course but I do think it will be bad for Atlanta and Georgia. Elections have consequences.

AJCkrtk
AJCkrtk

Very surprised at the Dems. Especially Jason Carter -- didn't think he would be playing all the political games like backing Courtney English (with an event and a robocall) and NOW backing Reed's puppet to extend a reign of corrupt self-dealing. What a shame.

EdGraham
EdGraham

Don't worry, Keisha.  The black power elite in the city, along with their friends around the country and in the Georgia Democratic party, will do everything in their power, including telling whatever lies they need to, like they did to Mary Norwood in 2009, to make sure you get elected and can help cover up for His Imperial Majesty King Kasim's corruption.

otherview
otherview

Norwood seems to have a reputation for honesty.

Sounds like her opponent is tied to the machine responsible for the corruption/incompetence over several administrations.

I'm ready to give someone else a chance rather than the Mayor's chosen one

NeboSuki1
NeboSuki1

The tribal mentality of dems like Carter et al is more concerned with a "win" than supporting the better candidate.  Bottoms is a horrible candidate!  I've met Jimmy and Rosalyn--I like them.  I voted for you Jason.  I'm ashamed I did. 

MajorDowning
MajorDowning

Jason Carter I'm disappointed, in you and the other SA democrats for backing the status quo. Atlanta needs a change and the poor will continue to be stepped on as Bottom continues running plays from the current failed mayor. Character counts Bottom has none. As democrats we can't say we are for the little person when we line up behind those keeping the little person down. SMDH

midtown-Mark
midtown-Mark

Norwood is certainly more centrist than Bottoms, but to call her a Republican or a Trump supporter is ridiculous and dishonest.  I didn't vote for Jason Carter last time around as I thought Deal had been great governor.  While I didn't vote for Jason Carter, I was of the belief that he wasn't so dishonest as to engage in this nonsense.  I was wrong. If and when Jason Carter runs again for anything, I'll know to immediately scratch him off my list. 

NeboSuki1
NeboSuki1

Bottoms would be an embarrassment for Atlanta!!! 

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  1. […] candidates had endorsements to tout this week as well, with Bottoms getting the nod from former state Senator and 2014 Democratic candidate for governor Jason Carter and 2018 Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Evans. Meanwhile, Norwood announced Tuesday […]

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  2. […] Georgia’s Democratic establishment starts to rally behind Bottoms […]

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