ATLANTA - The race for Atlanta's next mayor continues, but now the field of more than a dozen candidates has narrowed down to two.
After thousands of Atlantans cast their votes Tuesday, City Council President Felicia Moore emerged as the clear leader in the mayor’s race, advancing to a Nov. 30 runoff with about 40% of the vote in the nonpartisan race.
"Now you all have heard that saying, ‘Bye Felicia.’ Well if you believe that Atlanta needs experience, ethical, transparent, and accountable leadership, I want you all to join me, and join this campaign, by saying, ‘hi Felicia!’ Thank you," Moore told supporters at her election night party.
City Council member Andre Dickins and former Mayor Kasim Reed battled it out for the second spot in the runoff, with Dickens claiming 23% of the vote and Reed 22% of the vote.
"Atlanta needs a mayor that's a bridge-building and who's ready to hit the ground running on day one. that's my plans are aggressive to deal with the issues that Atlanta is facing right now," Dickens said.
Reed told supporters after midnight Wednesday that he wasn’t giving up as he awaited more results, even as three-quarters of city voters chose someone else.
"We have been in close elections before," Reed said. "We have won close elections before. Just remember it’s not easy."
Attorney Sharon Gay and council member Antonio Brown were trailing in fourth and fifth place, respectively, among 14 candidates.
Moore was first elected to council in 1997 and was elected citywide as council president in 2017. She touted her legislative record, and promised greater accountability and transparency. Moore entered the race before Bottoms bowed out, and is a longtime critic of Reed, who she said led "the most corrupt administration in Atlanta history."
Dickens was endorsed by former Mayor Shirley Franklin and promised to increase the number of officers, arrest gang leaders and implement community policing. He also aimed to increase affordable housing, improve infrastructure and ensure current residents qualify for high-paying jobs.
Confronting rising crime was a major focus, but candidates also addressed concerns about affordable housing, bolstering struggling city services and keeping the wealthy Buckhead neighborhood from seceding.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.