ATLANTA - With nearly all the votes counted in the city of Atlanta, it now appears that the mayor’s race will be heading into a runoff between the top two candidates.
Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood garnered just under 48 percent of the total vote, each well under the 50 percent plus one vote needed to secure an outright win Tuesday night.
Despite months of campaigning and heated debate, there was no clear winner Tuesday night among the extremely crowded field of candidates. Nine candidates were vying to replace the current Mayor Kasim Reed, who is term-limited after serving eight years.
Polls heading into the election had Bottoms and Norwood leading the pack, so it did not come as too much of a surprise the two would be finding themselves face-to-face in a runoff election.
Bottoms got a big endorsement from Mayor Reed, even going so far as to speak publically at her rally on Tuesday night. Norwood received endorsements from the Georgia Police Benevolent Association, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, and International Brotherhood of Police Officers Local 134 Atlanta chapter.
One attribute for the city's next mayor was decided Tuesday. That was that a woman will be sworn in next year for only the second time in the city's history.
Former Atlanta City Council President Cathy Woolard, former Chief Operating Officer Peter Aman, Georgia State Senator Vincent Fort, current Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, Atlanta City Councilmember Kwanza Hall, former Fulton County Chairman John Eaves, Rohit Ammanamanchi, Glenn Wrightson, and co-founder of the real estate investment firm Millennial Global Investments Laban King each received 20 percent or under.
Michael Sterling, who is on the ballot, announced last month he would suspend his campaign and throw his support behind Mitchell, who was in a very public feud with Mayor Reed.
Bottoms and Norwood are expected to face off in a runoff on Dec. 5.