A loss in black and white 

Michael Bond says people are still congratulating him on his victory in the City Council president's race.

Too bad he lost.

More than two weeks after Cathy Woolard won the council's top post, people still don't know that it was a run-off election that put her there. They think Bond's top vote total in the general election vaulted him into the president's seat. And that, the affable Bond says, is why he lost.

While many local politicos and CL have suggested that Bond's perplexing defeat was caused by lackluster campaigning in the general election and an inability to forge his own identity separate from Mayor Bill Campbell, Bond disagrees.

"The southside was asleep, and I couldn't wake them up," Bond says. Why couldn't he? Bond says he devoted too much attention to their white counterparts.

In going after Buckhead votes, Bond thought he was learning from a mistake made by his father, Julian Bond, in his bitter 1986 race against U.S. Rep. John Lewis. The elder Bond had concentrated on black votes and, among those voters, "beat [Lewis] like someone who stole some chitlins," the junior Bond jokes. But it wasn't enough to best Lewis, whose cross-section of voters from across the city was enough to propel him into Congress.

Michael Bond realizes now he erred in the opposite direction. He thought he would need 15 percent of the white vote to win an election in which only 20 percent of the population bothered to vote. He also figured he'd be accused of playing racial politics by focusing only on black voters. Ironically, it was Woolard who did just that -- going back to her base in majority-white District 6 in Midtown and picking up about 1,500 new votes from the Buckhead area.

Bond says he is not bitter about the loss. He says he plans to return to politics soon, and some have suggested that newly created state house seats might be just his ticket.


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