Mary Norwood finally concedes Atlanta mayor’s race

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Mary Norwood conceded the Atlanta mayor's race to Keisha Lance Bottoms late Wednesday, more than two weeks after Bottoms narrowly won the contest to become the city's 60th chief executive.

Bottoms won the runoff by 759 votes, a margin of victory that grew to 821 votes after Fulton County officials recounted the vote and certified the results. With the concession, Norwood set aside threats to challenge the results in court and ended her campaign's review of the election that she called “exhausting and painful.”

“The process is now complete and although there were some irregularities with the election, I have decided not to contest it. I thank everyone who came forward to report polling situations and ballot issues that were concerning. We are grateful,” Norwood said.

Norwood's concession came in a four-minute YouTube video. In it, Norwood said her vision was to “unite Atlanta.”

“My vision was to expand the aforementioned theme, to unite Atlanta around a great purpose. To improve upon Atlanta as a place where anyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or orientation – could feel comfortable building a business, raising a family, and being involved in the wonderful activities found in a great city,” Norwood said.

The mayoral race split LGBT voters, who had in Cathy Woolard an LGBT candidate as well as a field of other challengers with long tracks records on LGBT equality issues. Woolard placed third in the November election and hosted a forum with Bottoms and Norwood ahead of the Dec. 5 runoff. There, both candidates pledged to address homelessness among LGBT youth and soaring HIV rates in the city.

“I was committed to running a campaign that traversed our entire city. Our campaign was always about embracing everyone in all of our diverse communities. And I am proud to know that 45,000 Atlantans agreed with this vision,” Norwood said in her concession speech.

On a recent episode of Podcast Q, Bottoms said she would advocate for LGBT issues from the mayor's office. Her commitment to LGBT equality is drawn from experiences with LGBT family members, the city's diverse population and even her mother's gay dance partner in the 1970s, she explained.

 

Norwood's full concession statement:

For my entire adult life, Atlanta has been known as “The City Too Busy to Hate.” Over the past five decades, this message has been our carefully protected and cultivated Brand – a promise that Atlanta has offered to everyone— no matter who you are or where you were born. I found this to be true in the beginning of my career in civic affairs, as I worked diligently to help protect and maintain our neighborhoods, our quality of life, and the beauty of this great City.

I was humbled to be elected as a Citywide City Council member twice, which allowed me to get to know and serve all of Atlanta’s various communities and 242 neighborhoods. Wherever I went, I was met with openness and kindness.

Eight years ago, I was encouraged to run for Mayor. A year ago, I was encouraged again…and I knew that if I had the power of the Mayor’s office, I could affect positive change and make much-needed improvements that had eluded me as a member of City Council.

My vision was to expand the aforementioned theme…to unite Atlanta around a great purpose. To improve upon Atlanta as a place where anyone – regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or orientation – could feel comfortable building a business, raising a family, and being involved in the wonderful activities found in a great city.

I have always believed that Atlanta could be THE city that moved beyond the divisions that plague many of America’s communities; one that could serve as a shining example for the world as we charge further into the 21st Century.

As someone who has been involved in politics, I know that it is a rough and tumble game, but I was appalled at the misrepresentations of me personally and others connected to me. I was stunned to see that I—a woman who had faithfully and equitably served all Atlantans for over two decades – was accused of being a racist who would turn back the clock to 1950. The election was made out to be all about race and the campaign was divisive.

From the start, my goal was different. I was committed to running a campaign that traversed our entire city. Our campaign was always about embracing everyone in all of our diverse communities. And I am proud to know that 45,000 Atlantans agreed with this vision.

These supporters deserved my best analysis of the election, and for the past two weeks, that is what has been done. It has been exhausting and painful, but it was important to me to do so for their sake and for everyone who believes in our vision of Atlanta—a City that is better together than it is divided.

The process is now complete and although there were some irregularities with the election, I have decided not to contest it. I thank everyone who came forward to report polling situations and ballot issues that were concerning. We are grateful.

Throughout this process, I also consulted with trusted advisors and leaders in the community. For the future of this city, I believe it is the right thing to do to move on… and hold the new administration accountable to serve this great city well.

I wish my opponent a term of governance that embodies the same tenets that my campaign did— embracing every Atlantan and working hard for all Atlantans with grace and dignity.

I will never forget each individual who worked so hard on my campaign. It has been a long and important journey and I am grateful to you all. You are the BEST of Atlanta.

Thank you and God bless,

Mary Norwood

 

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