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Campbell, meanwhile, showed his usual prickliness when Eaton brought up all the talk of integrity at a recent meeting between Campbell and black journalists. Campbell claimed he had more integrity than the three candidates combined, Eaton says. And the mayor reminded Eaton that he carried every black district in the last election. Distance yourself from me at your own peril was his message, Eaton says.
If an election is decided by money -- and what election isn't? -- Shirley Franklin is the front-runner. She's not bashful about having already raised $1.3 million. It's going to take every penny for a virtual unknown and a woman to win, she says.
Some people advised her that she could run a different kind of race, a race without the baggage that heavy contributions bring, but Franklin says the numbers didn't support it. "When women get outspent 2-1, they lose," she says.
In Bromell-Tinubu's case, she stands to get outspent about 10 to 1. The latest numbers show her raising less than $70,000 -- more than $16,000 of which came in the form of a personal loan. What's more, she has only $2,000 immediately at her disposal. And she declared her candidacy nine months ago.
"It's early yet, but it's not too early to have a little larger war chest," Boone says about Bromell-Tinubu's fundraising. It's going to take money to get your message out and get people to the polls.
Bromell-Tinubu deflects such criticism by saying she is waging a grassroots campaign that re-imagines the way elections are done in Atlanta. That remains to be seen, but what is a certainty, is that she'll have to work like hell and have the right people in place to get elected without much money.
Maybe the only advantage her penury lends her is the role of "outsider" -- the ability to accuse Pitts and Franklin of running a "politics as usual" campaign.
In the middle is Pitts, who in the last three months raised a little less than $100,000, a third of what Franklin has raised in the same time. Pitts' campaign disclosure lists his contributions at about $800,000.
Many expected him to join Franklin with more than a million in the bank, and the surprising number leads some to speculate that his candidacy has lost steam.
Pitts spokesman Dana Bolden explains that the City Council president scaled back fundraising efforts during the first part of the year, holding small, neighborhood fundraisers where $4,000-$6,000 was typically raised.
But Pitts is not backing away from his original $2 million goal. He says he will raise $1.3 million during May, June and July with a series of heavy- hitting fundraisers.
And he'll probably need every penny -- just like the other candidates. Because there's no enemy in this race, no Mitch Skandalakis, to get voters to the polls. There's no crisis to be had either.
Instead, there's just the tightrope to walk -- proving you're the one to govern tomorrow while insisting you're not tied to those who govern today.
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