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Atlanta mayoral race still jam-packed after qualifications week

13 candidates remain, and councilwomen lead in the polls

Not a single serious contender dropped out of Atlanta's mayoral race during last week's qualifying period. The current candidate count sits at 13, which all but guarantees a runoff election. The political experts that Creative Loafing's been schmoozing with during this contest had all said the herd would thin before August 25, the last day to file qualifying paperwork and hand in the $5,529 fee. But the major nine candidates (with at least a semblance of a shot at Mayor Kasim Reed's throne) all stuck to their guns.

Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, former Council President Cathy Woolard, ex-city COO Peter Aman, and Council members Mary Norwood, Keisha Lance Bottoms and Kwanza Hall signed their forms and turned in their checks. As did State Sen. Vincent Fort, former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves, and even underdog Michael Sterling, who used to run the city's workforce development arm.

Norwood still leads the pack, according to recent poll by Landmark Communications. She claimed about a quarter of votes from the 500 "likely voters" surveyed, trailed by Bottoms and Aman, who each took about 12 percent of the tally. Bottoms has a 0.3 percent leg up on Aman in this poll, although the former city administrator has seen a drastic uptick in support since previous estimates he was taking home 6 percent of the vote in a poll published this time last month.

Aman's surge in support brings his bid into the realm of viability along with those of Norwood, Bottoms, and Mitchell he sits at fourth place in the Landmark study, with 10.4 percent of the vote. But with this many promising candidates crammed onto the ballot, it'll be tough for any one runner to snag more the 51 percent needed to claim a general election win.

Norwood will likely lure a bulk of the Republican vote, as evidenced by the 50 percent that she wooed of the 95 right-leaning voters that Landmark counted. She also grabbed almost 40 percent of the 232 white votes, whereas Bottoms took nearly a quarter of the 257 African-American votes and 17.3 percent of the 284 votes by Democrats Norwood scored 16.9 percent of the Democrat votes and 14.5 percent of the black votes.

Bottoms is also showing signs of support from millennials, with a strong 19.2 percent of the 18-to-29-year-old count. But Norwood trounced everyone in the 40-and-up vote, which represented more than 80 percent of the entire poll.

Some 17 percent of the half-thousand people who contributed to Landmark's stats, however, identified as undecided voters. Thanks to all the major candidates' aversion to quitting a good trait, I guess CL doesn't have much indication of which way this fat chunk of the electorate will lean, come November.

We've got more profile pieces currently brewing, so hopefully the fence-sitters will soon fall in place. That said, we understand there are a bunch of ways to fall off this wonky fence. As always, stay tuned.



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