Atlanta mayoral race: Peter Aman calls out the competition
"I wouldn't call it a jab," says his campaign manager. "We're just sharing information."
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Peter Aman pulls no punches. The candidate for Atlanta mayor, formerly the city's chief operating officer, recently email blasted digs at a few other contenders, although his camp maintains that's just par for the course.
"Why is Mary Norwood ducking the public?," Aman asks in a June 8 email. "She and her campaign team have decided she will skip as many public forums as possible, denying voters the opportunity to truly compare the full slate of candidates.?
Aman's campaign manager, Fred Hicks, says he doesn't see that as a sign of any political beef. "I wouldn't call it a jab at all," he says. "We're sharing information.?
That information shared in the email knocks Norwood, a city councilwoman running for mayor, for "avoiding" five public forums. Hicks tells Creative Loafing that she missed an important discussion at the King Center about income inequality and gentrification. Norwood tweeted during the event that she was getting a car wash, and Aman's campaign capitalized on what they saw as negligence.
"All the other significant candidates were there, including two of the candidates who aren't necessarily considered serious candidates or favorites to win this," Hicks says. "But she is the one who's skipping out.?
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Norwood tells CL she was in Adamsville to learn about Atlanta's blight problem, so she couldn't make it to the King Center on time but was able to squeeze a quick car wash into her schedule. As for the other events missed, she says being ill for a couple weeks threw a wrench in campaign plans.
Norwood, who says she hardly knows Aman, is scratching her head about why his campaign is so hung up on his competitors. "I'm focused on what I can do for our citizens and what I can do as the next mayor," she says. "I'm really not focused on any other candidates in the race. Everybody runs their own race and their own campaign.?
Hicks, however, claimed Norwood's people have attacked Aman as well, pointing to a tweet allegedly shared by her campaign treasurer, Jamie Ensley. According to a screenshot shared by Aman's team, Ensley called @PeterAmanATL a "HONKY CRACKER.?
"We're like, ???Whoa, whoa, whoa! That was a whole different level there, buddy,'" Hicks says.
Norwood says she's never heard about the tweet, which has apparently been deleted, but she says it could have come from a fake or parody account. "Certainly nobody in my camp would do anything like that or I don't believe so," she says.
Norwood and her campaign manager, Erika Ford, say her mayoral bid has been mired by fake news on a few occasions, and they always take opportunities to clear the air. "There's a post out on Facebook that says I, along with Ceasar Mitchell and Kwanza Hall, approved a property tax increase," Norwood says. "That is not correct." They also claim that, on more than a dozen occasions, people approached them at campaign events and public forums to ask about rumors of Norwood's intention to kill the city's Minority Business Enterprise program. Those rumors, Ford says, are supposedly perpetuated by Aman's cohorts.
And Norwood isn't the only candidate in Aman's crosshairs. He's also slammed City Council President Ceasar Mitchell for ducking a question about climate change and Councilman Kwanza Hall for revealing his conspiratorial beliefs about global warming.
But Norwood is performing much better in the polls than Aman, which might explain why his camp has singled her out. Hicks says she's been circumventing public appearances because she doesn't want to risk losing that advantage: "She has not performed well in the past at debates and forums, so we think they're trying to avoid them to preserve her position in the polls.?
Despite the obvious tension between the two candidates, Hicks insists there's no personal qualms, just politics. "They're not golfing buddies or anything like that, but they don't have a history of beef.?