Your morning jolt: Borders names a new campaign manager

In April, Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders sat in the home of Verna Cleveland and said she was re-entering the race for mayor and that Cleveland would be her campaign manager.

Late Wednesday, the Borders campaign confirmed to my AJC colleague Eric Stirgus that Cleveland is out as campaign manager and state Rep. Stacey Abrams (D-Atlanta) is in.

Borders campaign spokeswoman Liz Flowers said Cleveland wasn’t fired, and this isn’t a campaign shake-up.

Instead, Flowers said Borders needed a new set of troops as the campaign “ramps up” for the final four months. Cleveland will still volunteer for the campaign.

“Verna will still support Lisa,” Flowers said. “This was all about the relaunch [of the campaign].”

In other words, Flowers said the campaign is shifting its focus from raising money to winning endorsements and votes.

Cleveland was Shirley Franklin’s campaign finance director for her successful 2001 mayoral bid and Borders needed some fund-raising prowess after being away from the race for eight months. The campaign must report by next week how much it raised between April and June, which many say is a critical test of Borders’ candidacy.

As for Abrams, Flowers said the two women go way back (a picture of Borders is on Abrams’ web site) and are in such sync that “they can finish each others sentences.”

While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s

  • Economy snuffs some Georgia fireworks shows.
  • Atlanta axes 109 jail system workers.
  • Hunstein sworn in as new chief justice.
  • Nine are candidates for state Supreme Court vacancy.
  • Georgia State accused of anti-Muslim bias.
  • Do Milton County advocates have conflict of interest?
  • Tom Price on health care reform.
  • McKinney still held on ship of activists detained by Israel.
  • Adulterous governor’s chattiness puzzles PR exec, ex-staffer.
  • Some opinion:

  • Your Luckovich fix.
  • Kyle Wingfield posits that cap and trade will be tax and fail.
  • Kaffie McCullough on the trafficking of young girls in metro Atlanta.
  • Stephanie Tames says forget subprime — the riskiest loans are those between relatives.
  • From elsewhere in Georgia:

  • ABC: ATL city council committee OKs airport parking contract.
  • And beyond:

  • WSJ: American soldier captured in Afghanistan.
  • WP: U.S. hardens its stance with Russia ahead of summit.
  • NYT: U.S. nuns facing Vatican scrutiny.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    28 comments Add your comment


    July 2nd, 2009
    9:09 am

    I saw this one coming for a while now. Verna was too focused on dollars and big names in the community. She kept forgetting about the everyday Atlantans whose votes count just as much. As for Abrams, we’ll see if this is a good choice or not.


    July 2nd, 2009
    9:45 am

    I thought she dropped out of the race. Oh, wait, maybe after she decided she should be mayor but then thought she didn’t want to be mayor she changed her mind about deciding not to be mayor and again decided she wanted to be mayor.

    Hers is the kind of decisive leadership Atlanta needs. Someone who makes a plan and sticks to it. Until she decides to change mid-stream. But then decides to change the change and go back to what she was doing. But then decides that the people that were the right ones to do it the first time and then the second time are suddenly not the right people so she scraps that and brings in new people.

    Hasn’t she been part of this crime-increasing, furloughing, tax raising mess? Wouldn’t it make more sense to bring in a new captain than to give the boat controls over to the first mate that was standing on the deck as the boat was driven way off course?


    July 2nd, 2009
    9:52 am

    By the way, the one thing I would like Borders to explain is the new charge City Council enacted if you pay your water bill on the Internet. Most companies have moved to Internet billing because it’s cheaper, but somehow the City of Atlanta claims people need to pay for this service to offset the expense. With whom did the City sign a sweetheart contract that made this more expensive?

    Common sense tells you that having someone pay directly over the Web has got to be cheaper, because nobody has to open up the envelopes, code the checks, and recheck that everything has cleared. On top of that, the City is ensured there are no bounced checks, freeing up the employee time to track down those who bounced paper checks. Having a live person sit at a window in City Hall is equally expensive. Replacing the person with some self-serve payment machines in a few convenient locations around town would be much less expensive.

    I believe it costs the City more to process online payments, but it’s obviously because they made online payment one of those contracts – like airport concessions/advertising and printing Olympic T-Shirts – that is given as a financial prize to friends, relatives and supporters.

    AJC – can you please push for any present Council Member running for office in this election to please explain this nonesense?

    Dear CJK

    July 2nd, 2009
    10:28 am

    So CJK, if I’m not for Borders, who should I vote for?


    July 2nd, 2009
    10:39 am

    Great!! She hired someone connected with Shirley Nagans.Now Ms.Border’s campaign is over.


    July 2nd, 2009
    10:48 am

    I honestly don’t know who I like in this race but I’m really getting worried that there isn’t any one that is worthy of winning it.

    Reed was suppose to be the new fresh face with lots of potential, now he’s treading water hoping to get through the general and make the run-off. Not a good strategy.

    Spikes – I like what I see when I just read about him, but when I talk to people I like what I see less and less, but I will hold judgment a little longer. Plus he may drop out any day.

    Borders – I never liked her personally, nor her attitude about several issues, but I’ve always felt she was competent but lately it seems like that was all a facade. And now is this a sign that maybe she doesn’t have any traction and is falling by the wayside?

    Norwood – I never liked her, but over the last year and a half she has done almost everything right, but is that because she is campaigning or is that how she will act when in office?

    Only time will tell and in Nov. I suspect there will only be two people on the ballot.


    July 2nd, 2009
    11:00 am

    I think it’s an excellent choice. Abrams is experienced and well respected. She’s one of the brightest new stars under the gold dome.

    Yall act like other candidates haven’t changed campaign managers, hello Kasim Reed and Jesse Spikes.


    July 2nd, 2009
    11:06 am


    Clearly you missed your civics class. Borders does not vote on Council. Water bill would be part of current administration. As far as getting in and out of the race, caring for elderly parents with health-care issues is something I would expect any decent person would do.

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    July 2nd, 2009
    11:15 am

    What gives with Lisa Borders’ life? She came on the scene young and pretty. with good character and right living she should at least be older and attractive. No man in her life or “significant other?” Children? What’s she doing wrong to look how she does today? Those we make elect, give power to them over we sovereign citizens, must be of proven integrity – probity.

    Who can speak for Lisa Borders, and be believable?

    Downtown Resident

    July 2nd, 2009
    11:27 am

    I live downtown and have personally seen the businesses leaving and jobs disappearing. After reading about these candidates and what they’ve accomplished, Borders is the only one to keep this city thriving from a business standpoint. The others have no business experience at all and are only career politicians or opportunists.

    Let’s not forget that we are a city that thrives on businesses and that these businesses fuel our economy and job market.

    Downtown Resident

    July 2nd, 2009
    11:33 am


    I met Spikes and Norwood and Thomas and the words that best describe them are Jokers and un-informed.

    I will say this though, Norwood came to my church to shake hands and kiss babies and the whole facade was so dis-ingenuinuos and hilarious; even the pastor made a joke about it when she left.


    July 2nd, 2009
    11:35 am

    great now we have campaign staffers posting to the board. Go away


    July 2nd, 2009
    11:42 am

    Reed is just focusing on the young, black vote. Might be a good strategy, but there is no way voter turnout and enthusiasm will be a tenth of what it was for the presidential election so he can probably kiss his campaign goodbye.

    Norwood is definitely the champion of the white vote, but I don’t see anyone outside of her friends seeing her as a viable candidate. Just like others have said, she is viewed as fake and just having her “campaign facade” on.

    Borders is qualified and will be a good candidate, but she has got to go outside her inner circle and listen to the voices outside of campaign HQ.

    I’m not sure if any of the candidates realize this, but they are running for Mayor of Atlanta, not Mayor of South Atlanta or Mayor of North Atlanta. This city needs a unified vision which means getting people on board that represent the whole city is key.


    July 2nd, 2009
    11:45 am

    Clark Howard for Mayor.


    July 2nd, 2009
    11:48 am

    PeachtreeRoadATL – Thank you for your lesson. Next time, please teach something that is correct…

    The “current administration” is not responsible for this extra charge. CITY COUNCIL ENACTED A LAW SPECIFICALLY REQUIRING THIS CHARGE!!! The present administration ignored the law for a year until CITY COUNCIL spoke up and threatened to sue if the fee was not collected.

    I’m not sure what civics classes you attended, but you might want to ask for your money back. When CITY COUNCIL passes a law and THREATENS the administration if the law is not carried out, it would appear to be a CITY COUNCIL mandate, wouldn’t it?

    But thanks for the info. Lesson learned: PeachtreeRoadAtl doesn’t let something silly, like the facts, get in the way of a good condescending slam.

    As for whom to support, AH is right that none of the current crop is very good. We’re not going to cure the patient by pumping in the same diseased blood that’s already running through his veins. I look forward to learning more about the candidates as the next couple months go forward. Right now, I’m leaning to Reed. I’d be happy if a viable Republican ran. Not that I’m a fan of the party, I’d just like to see that big a change. (Not that I’m a fan of the Dems, either.)

    James Doyle

    July 2nd, 2009
    12:35 pm

    Borders works for the same developers that have ruined this city cant anyone say another shirley franklin. Thank you for the ghettos in the sky commonly referred to as luxury condos.

    Reed represents the same developers that have ruined this city and torn this city apart. Thank you for brokering the deals for the ghettos in the sky.

    Norwood is for everyone—white and black and has nothing to do with big developers. You may view her as fake because we have not had a real person running this city for close to 20 years. She is running for mayor not because she has to….because she wants too. Mary did not support the recent hike in our millage rate because of the lack of accountability in the city now….

    If you want more Ghettos in the sky just vote for Border or Reed. If you want some work done to your streets and a step in the right directions to get rid of these foreclosures vote for mary.

    This race is not about color, this race is not about big business, this race is about the future of our city that is crumbling before our eyes.
    Shirley and her predecessors have sank this city to almost a point of no return. Thank you for the corruption, unsafe streets, and the ghettos in the sky.

    Mary is the only real candidate that even knows there is a west side of town. You can see her weekly in Vine City and other parts of the city that the bougeouis candidates do not even know exist or even care to know exist. Lets get this city back up and running today! Vote for May Norwood.


    July 2nd, 2009
    12:36 pm

    Borders is in the race cause her employer, Cousins, wants her to sell the 10,000 acres the City of Atlanta owns in Pauliding County to them. The other candidates are jokes and offer nothing new or of substance. None of them undersatnd the city finances. Borders and Norwood can’t even talk basic government finance. Where is the business community and why aren’t they backing someone real?

    Dekalb reader

    July 2nd, 2009
    2:02 pm

    I haven’t followed the campaigns that closely yet, but Borders picking Abrams to helm the ship tells me one thing: Borders knows talent when she see it. Abrams is one of the most effective young politicians in ATL. Her district loves her because she gets results. And judging by how her own campaigns have operated–focused, smart, and well-funded–she knows how to run a war room. We make a big deal about politicians records, history, and character for good reason. But, in my mind, one of the most important skills is knowing how to put together a team and delegate. Borders choosing Abrams makes me like Borders.


    July 2nd, 2009
    3:31 pm

    This will shock the cynical, “they’re all crooks” crowd, but I think we actually have four good candidates for mayor (Borders, Norwood, Reed, and Spikes). That’s more than I can say for the governor’s race.

    Open Eyes

    July 2nd, 2009
    3:36 pm

    Any time your campaign director quits 4 months before the election you lose credibility. Why would the person you saw as most fit to lead you to victory lose faith in you in the home stretch?

    If the person most in the know about this campaign saw fit to get away from it, the inside story must be pretty ugly. They can try to spin this as well as they can, but there’s just no up side to this for them.


    July 2nd, 2009
    4:26 pm

    Anyone here willing to vouch that will jones is NOT an idiot & a moron?


    July 2nd, 2009
    5:01 pm

    @James Doyle Y’know they offer in-patience treatment for crack addiction. Mary “Bless the Little People” Norwood doesn’t have a shot in Hades of becoming mayor of Atlanta. As for those “ghettos in the sky”, they were all built and bought by WHITE people…

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    July 2nd, 2009
    7:56 pm

    Need to lay off the weed, “Herbacious.” “Playing with the window crank” instead of looking out to see what’s there is the Devil’s game.


    July 3rd, 2009
    1:50 am

    I went to a Reed event last week and was very impressed. More than any of the othe candidates, he appeared to be the most focused on job creation. He has my vote…


    July 3rd, 2009
    1:50 am

    I would love to hear from the ex-campaign manager herself than all these gutless wonders here in the comments section. Whether she quit, was fired, or left of her own volition isn’t really our business. Now if Borders gets out of the race again, then she can hang it up. But I don’t know if that’s going to happen — any of the other dozen or so people trying to become mayor will drop like flies, especially when those funding numbers come out. Until then, how about we ALL just sit back and watch the show?

    Will Jones - Atlanta

    July 3rd, 2009
    2:06 am

    How about we all get active as sovereign citizens of the greatest city in the world and draft a person of proven integrity to lead us: getting rid of the entrenched corruption lately “borrowed” from New Orleans, which has gone along with Bush’s committing 9/11 to, among other outcomes, restart the Afghan heroin trade?


    July 3rd, 2009
    1:06 pm

    Gotta love will – always good for cheap/free entertainment.
    Nah, not really.

    Ricardo Smith-SE Atlanta

    July 5th, 2009
    10:48 pm

    I like Mary Norwood. She’s honest, works hard & it seems like crime is her #1 issue. As is mine. I’ve met her a couple of times over the years around the city and she always has high energy…to fix all the problems, that’s what the city is going to need. Glad she didn’t vote for more taxes either.