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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Reed-backed political group endorses Ricardo Mosby over Felicia Moore, other city candidates

Wheres my endorsement?
Mayor Kasim Reed, some Atlanta business leaders, and other donors have formed a new political group to back key candidates in the city's Council and Board of Education races.

Robert Highsmith, Continue Atlanta's Progress chairman, says the independent committee will support candidates who stand behind the mayor's efforts over the past four years. According to the AJC, the group has amassed $90,000 - including $75,000 from Reed himself.

"The future of our city is directly tied to the effectiveness of the Atlanta Public Schools," Highsmith says. "To attract new businesses and new residents, Atlanta must boast one of the nation's best school systems. To make that happen, we intend to support strong candidates for the local school board."

With that cash, Continue Atlanta's Progress has rallied behind several councilmembers in competitive races: Aaron Watson, Natalyn Archibong, Carla Smith, and Cleta Winslow. And the committee decided to back Board of Education candidates Reuben McDaniel, Steve Lee, Brenda Muhammad, Jason Estevez, Eshe Collins, Courtney English, Matt Westmoreland, and Byron Amos.

Post 3 At-Large incumbent H. Lamar Willis, who's fending off a fierce campaign from Georgia Tech staffer Andre Dickens, didn't receive an endorsement despite having received outspoken support from Reed.

In addition, the group also endorsed little-known challenger Ricardo Mosby over Felicia Moore for her northwest Atlanta seat. Mosby, a civil litigation lawyer and former legal assistant for Council, has largely remained quiet on the campaign trail and has yet to filed a campaign finance disclosure. He did speak with Neighbor Newspapers last week:

"I've negotiated major contracts for the city of Atlanta and other major entities," he said. "I have the ability to get things done. As opposed to just being a gadfly or a political stalwart, I would be a person who would be a catalyst for progress."

If elected, Mosby said his primary goal would be addressing public safety issues, while also maintaining a focus on community and economic development.

Though he said he did not want to make any personal attacks against incumbent Felicia Moore, he believes now is the time for change.

"I think once you've been [in] a position so long, you're not really a catalyst for change," Mosby said. "You really become part of the machine. [Moore has been in office] 16 years - that's a long time. After 16 years, I've seen no real progress. ... There are pockets of progress, but I believe I can do better."

It's a baffling endorsement at first glance. But the decision seems just much a slight against Moore than it is in favor of Mosby. Moore, who has a reputation as a fiscal watchdog and independent councilwoman, has also been a constant vote against the mayor's proposals - most notably with the stadium vote.

We've reached out to both Reed's campaign and Highsmith about the endorsement. If we hear back, we'll post an update.

UPDATE: Mosby's campaign tells CL that his disclosure was filed late on Oct. 7 due to "an oversight in getting his PIN number." It's since been posted online: he's received $11,825.00 in contributions this period and has $5,375.00 cash on hand. During that same period, Moore netted $12,094.00 in contributions and $18,280.08 cash on hand.

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