ATL Mayor: Early voting begins as polls show tight race

Where the Atlanta Mayor race stands as voting begins

From left to right: former Mayor Kasim Reed, City Council President Felicia Moore, attorney Sharon Gay, City Councilman Andre Dickens and City Councilman Antonio Brown

With three weeks left until election day, voting is now officially underway in the crowded race to become the next Mayor of Atlanta.

Early voting begins on Tuesday in the race to succeed Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who famously announced earlier this year that she would not seek a second term. The contest, which features over a dozen candidates, has been focused mostly on public safety as the city faces a rise in violent crime, a problem that has some residents in the north Atlanta community of Buckhead questioning whether they should remain a part of the city of Atlanta.

Municipal elections in Georgia are nonpartisan, which means voters will not see “Democratic” or “Republican” labels for each candidate on their ballots when they cast their votes. All candidates will compete on the same ballot and the election will advance to a November 30 runoff between the two leading candidates if no one emerges with more than 50% of the vote.

Over the last few weeks, polls have shown that one candidate is almost certainly going to earn a spot in the runoff: former Mayor Kasim Reed. The real question right now is who will be joining him in the runoff. Reed currently leads the field with 18% of the vote, according to a survey by SurveyUSA for 11Alive News. The second place spot is very much up for grabs, with City Council President Felicia Moore polling at 8% and all of the other candidates polling at 5% or lower. Nearly one-third of those polled say that they are undecided,

Reed also boasts a huge financial advantage as the race enters its final weeks. The former Mayor’s campaign has reported raising roughly $2.8 million since entering the race. Moore says her campaign has raised $1.1 million. Attorney Sharon Gay has raised $1.7 million — the vast majority of which was a self-loan, according to financial documents. City Councilman Andre Dickens’ campaign reports raising $1 million. A more detailed analysis of the fundraising reports can be found here.

With voting now underway, the race for Mayor has entered an important new phase. Former Mayor Reed seems to be well-positioned for a spot in the runoff, so this means that the other candidates must spend the next three weeks competing for enough support to earn the second spot in the runoff.

The race is now officially in the hands of Atlanta voters.