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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Atlanta election coverage and results

UPDATE 11:45 p.m. Um, we're pretty positive Norwood and Reed will be duking it out on Dec. 2 Dec. 1. I for one am going to bed. Thomas and Scott will continue partying. (Thomas just showed up at Kyle Keyser's gathering at Noni's.) You'll hear more from them soon, I'm sure. Nightie night!

UPDATE 11:33 p.m. Kasim Reed tells the crowd gathered at the Hyatt that in the "darkest days" of his campaign, Andrew Young was there to help by assuring him, "If you're not sleeping, I don't want to sleep." Reed also says, "Several weeks ago, not many people thought we would be here with 37 percent, did they? ... I'm ready to go for this city. I will fight for you. I will stand up for you. And I will make Atlanta the city on the hill again."

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UPDATE 11:22 p.m. Reed's about to take the podium at the Hyatt Regency, the TV people say. With more than 80 percent of precincts reporting, we've got Norwood at 45 percent, Reed at 37 percent, Borders (who has conceded the race) at 14 percent.

UPDATE 11:17 p.m. AJC says, "Borders concedes race"

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UPDATE 11:15 p.m. Text message from Thomas Wheatley: "Norwood announces she anticipates a runoff."

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UPDATE 11:11 p.m. Via Scott Henry, as he leaves the Varsity (Norwood's party) for the Hyatt Regency (Reed's shindig): "I just had to get a few pictures of Eldrin Bell and his wife in the Varsity. He's dressed to the nines. Mary just walked back in, and the crowd is chanting, 'Mare-EE, Mare-EE.' I just bumped into Rodney Cook, the Buckhead millionaire. Anne Fauver is sitting right next to me in her white Prius as she leaves."

UPDATE 10:54 p.m. Thomas here. Reporting from the Varsity, which honest to God has some of the best ice in the country. There's a lull in activity as Norwood supporters watch votes continue to line up in the councilwoman's favor. She's expected to return at 10:45. While we wait, it's worth taking a look at the other races.

Perhaps most surprising: We might see a runoff in the City Council President race between Ceasar Mitchell and Clair Muller. City Hall gadfly Dave Walker has managed to pull nearly 10 percent of the votes counted thus far. That's surprising, considering that Walker's reported zero funds raised in this race. (CL's profiled Walker before. Here's a video interview shot.) Where'd he get the support? It's worth considering that some of those are protest votes. You should also remember that Walker attends nearly every single council meeting (literally). He's a fixture on Channel 23, usually found badgering councilmembers.

Post 3 At-Large: Embattled incumbent H. Lamar Willis faces a tough contest from challenger Shelitha Roberston. 52-48. WIllis could very well lose his seat.

District 3: Incumbent Ivory Young appears headed for re-election, with 80 percent of the vote. 63 percent of the precincts reporting.

District 4: Incumbent Cleta Winslow leads closest challenger LaShawn Hoffman by 20 points. 46 percent of precincts reported.

District 6: Alex Wan leads Liz Coyle in the crowded race that's almost certainly headed for a runoff. Looks like it will be Wan v. Coyle or Tad Christian. Too close to call.

District 8: Yolanda Adrean commands a strong lead over Rick Coleman in the race to fill Clair Muller's seat.

District 11: The race to fill longtime Councilman Jim Maddox's seat quickly filled up after he announced his retirement. A runoff seemed virtually guaranteed — but Keisha Lance Bottoms currently leads the pack of nine with little over 50 percent of the vote.

District 12: It appears Joyce Sheperd has a solid lead, with 57 percent of votes. 85 percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 10:47 p.m. It's now up to 60 percent of precincts reporting, folks — Norwood: 45 percent. Reed: 37 percent. Borders: 14 percent. But it ain't over yet. Can Norwood close in on the 6 precious points that will give her an outright win? Or will it be a Norwood-Reed runoff in December???

UPDATE 10:35 p.m. AJC is leaning toward a Norwood-Reed runoff: "The trend is solidifying: it's a two-person race."

UPDATE 10:29 p.m. In other city races (with 52 percent of precincts reporting) ... City Council Prez: Ceasar Mitchell, 48 percent; Clair Muller, 42 percent. City Council Post 1 At-Large: Michael Julian Bond, 55 percent; Adam Brackman, 22 percent. City Council Post 2 At-Large: Aaron Watson, 43 percent; Amir Farokhi, 41 percent.

UPDATE 10:23 p.m. With 48 percent (yes, I double-checked this time) of precincts reporting — Norwood: 46 percent. Reed: 36 percent. Borders: 14 percent. Could the magic be ever-so-slightly slipping away from Norwood? Well ... even if she can't avoid a runoff, it's been an impressive showing. Who knows? She could still pull it off.

UPDATE 10:03 p.m. With 48 30 percent (oops) of precincts now reporting — Norwood: 47 percent. Reed: 35 percent. Borders: 14 percent. According to the AJC, "Norwood flirting with magic majority." Ooh la la.

UPDATE 9:55 p.m. Text message via Thomas Wheatley: "That's Norwood entering the Varsity. Talking now."

UPDATE 9:51 p.m. So says Scott Henry: "There's quite a crowd down here at the Varsity. I walked in and [Norwood's] press person tells us that the early returns put Mary at 51 percent. There are a lot of people with Mary T-shirts. Glenn Thomas just walked in. It's a very mixed crowd, older African-American folks and Buckhead Betties — two groups you never see together. Ralph Long is here. Lee Morris is here. Ahh, here we have Anne Fauver. She just walked by. A lot of people with families. A very different crowd than at the W. For one, they are  giving away free food. Pretty nutty. I got a chicken salad sandwich on rye. But I can't do their onion rings. Those will kill ya. After I finish my sandwich I'm going to walk around some more and talk to some people."

UPDATE: 9:35 p.m. This is what I'm hearing from Scott Henry, who was en route from Lisa Borders' party (at the W) to Mary Norwood's (at the Varsity): "Not a lot of people there [at the W], maybe 100, maybe 80. Not a  lot of energy. Please put in there that I had to suffer through someone singing 'Wind Beneath My Wings.' Yeah, I would not say it's downbeat, but no one was totally psyched or anything like that. I couldn't tell if it was because they thought that they were gonna lose or what. I'm pulling into the Varsity parking lot now. It is difficult to find a parking space at the Varsity. Is that unusual?"

UPDATE: 9:16 p.m. In case I left anyone wondering, that last update was left by me, Mara. Carry on.

UPDATE: 9:11 p.m. Greetings! I'm stuck on the couch at home while the esteemed Scott Henry and Thomas Wheatley get to party-hop, so let's make the most of this, shall we? Starting now, I'll be keeping a close watch on the election returns while Scott and Thomas deliver dispatches from the field. With 11 percent of precincts reporting, here's what Fulton County's vote-o-meter is spouting — Norwood: 44 percent; Reed: 39 percent; Borders: 13 percent. Thoughts, y'all? Predictions? Hopes? Dreams?

UPDATE: 9:03 p.m. Results now rolling in. Kasim Reed at 49 percent, Mary Norwood at 31 percent, Lisa Borders at 15 percent, Jesse Spikes, Kyle Keyser and Peter Brownlowe at 3 percent, 1 percent and 1 percent, respectively. One percent of precincts reporting.

UPDATE 8:39 p.m. Ahoy, Atlantans. Thomas here, writing from my car outside Manuel's. For an election night, the Poncey-Highland pub is surprisingly empty. Granted, polls closed roughly 30 minutes ago. If you're looking for a place to watch the election results in peace, it's an option.

Political gadfly Tom Houck was holding court with a table of somewhat familiar faces. His itinerary for the night includes Atkins Park to see Atlanta City Council District 6 candidate Liz Coyle and Shout in Midtown to see Post 2 At-Large hopeful Amir Farokhi. He also plants to drop by the Hyatt Regency to hobnob at mayoral candidate Kasim Reed's soiree. Emory Morsberger was also in attendance at Manuel's, but he's high-stepping to several parties as well. When I asked how he was doing, he greeted me with his trademark "incredible!"

Atlanta City Council President candidate Clair Muller might owe Norwood a thank you card tomorrow morning, one political observer said. Muller, a longtime councilwoman who represents the affluent area, might see a boost in support thanks to Norwood's solid grip on Buckhead. If Muller's successful in her race against Ceasar Mitchell — and Norwood in her own contest — the city could have a white mayor and a white city council president.

Still no results to speak of in the Atlanta races. Lisa Borders tweeted earlier that election results are set to come in first from Buckhead, then Midtown, and finally South Atlanta. If that's the case, don't be surprised if you first see Norwood way ahead in the polls. But we'll see.

It's getting cold and I need to drive somewhere else. More to come.

(Photos by Joeff Davis)

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