Atlanta's Mayoral Race Too Close To Call One candidate declared victory in Atlanta's mayoral race early Wednesday, though her challenger said she would request a recount with only several hundred votes separating them.
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Atlanta's Mayoral Race Too Close To Call

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Atlanta's Mayoral Race Too Close To Call

Atlanta's Mayoral Race Too Close To Call

Atlanta's Mayoral Race Too Close To Call

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One candidate declared victory in Atlanta's mayoral race early Wednesday, though her challenger said she would request a recount with only several hundred votes separating them.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A mayoral race in Atlanta that was roiled by issues around race and national politics has ended. Well, maybe not. There might be a recount. Keisha Lance Bottoms is claiming victory by just over 700 votes. Her opponent, Mary Norwood, is not conceding, though. Stephannie Stokes from member station WABE reports on the election night drama.

STEPHANNIE STOKES, BYLINE: The crowd was ecstatic as Keisha Lance Bottoms took the stage to declare victory in the early hours of Wednesday morning. She reminded the audience that she started out at a modest public school in the city's mostly black West Side.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS: And so for all the little girls out there that need somebody to believe that you're better than your circumstances, I want you all to remember that black girl magic is real.

(APPLAUSE)

STOKES: But the crowd at Mary Norwood's election party was still energized, too. Norwood stood in front of them and said the difference in the number of their votes was within 1 percent. That's a margin small enough to let her ask for a recount.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MARY NORWOOD: So this is very close, and we are - you are right. It is not over yet.

STOKES: So a divisive election that's turned on race and political identities continues. Bottoms, who is black, faced Norwood, who is white. In a city that's had black mayors since 1974, Norwood has had to defend herself. And so did her supporters. Shirley Franklin, Atlanta's first black female mayor, addressed the issue directly in an ad for Norwood.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD, "FRANKLIN FOR NORWOOD")

SHIRLEY FRANKLIN: This is Mayor Shirley Franklin, and I've endorsed Mary Norwood for mayor. Some people say that endorsement may hurt my legacy because I've endorsed a white woman over a black woman. This election is about character, transparency and integrity, not race.

STOKES: Norwood also faced questions about her party loyalty. She identifies as an independent, but Georgia Democrats who supported Bottoms accused Norwood of being a closet conservative.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD, "NORWOOD A CONSERVATIVE?")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is Mary Norwood a Republican?

STOKES: They ran attack ads like this one. It ended with the question...

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD, "NORWOOD A CONSERVATIVE?")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Should the mayor of Atlanta be from the party of Trump?

STOKES: National Democrats reinforced the party lines. Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California both stumped for Bottoms, calling her a soldier in the field. Norwood maintains the race is not over. She says absentee and provisional ballots still have to be counted and other votes need to be recounted. She tells her supporters they'll know more about the outcome later this week. For NPR News, I'm Stephannie Stokes in Atlanta.

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