Your morning jolt: Think about Mary Norwood winning ATL race for mayor without a runoff

A poll has fallen into our hands, conducted by a reputable firm for a private company with an interest in who will be the next mayor of Atlanta.

It was performed in mid-September, so the results are slightly dated. But the survey of 600 city voters (MOE is plus-or-minus 4 percent) says we need to begin thinking seriously about the unthinkable:

Mary Norwood could win the Nov. 3 mayoral race without a runoff.

This poll shows the councilwoman running stronger against rivals Lisa Borders and Kasim Reed than anything we’ve seen previously. It has Norwood even taking a plurality of Atlanta’s African-American vote.

This is the analysis accompanying the poll that’s being passed around Atlanta’s business elite:

Norwood’s impressive support measures translate into a better than 2:1 lead over second-place Borders (41% Norwood, 19% Border/14% Reed). Norwood’s advantage is built on a 41 point lead with white voters and a surprising 8-point plurality among African-Americans. Despite a double-digit name-ID gap with Borders, Reed takes as much of the [African-American vote] as does Borders (though Reed has little support among Atlanta whites).

Norwood’s African-American vote (26%) is driven by double-digit margins with men and those 60 plus, as Borders and Reed each pull roughly 20% of African-Americans. Norwood leads Reed by single digits among women, and those age 45-49, while Borders carries African-Americans under 45.

Geographically, Norwood breaks 50% in the North and Northeast, while carrying a plurality in the Inner City, Southwest, and DeKalb by margins between 9-20 points. Borders holds only a slight lead in the Southeast, with a narrow 2-point margin over Norwood.

In this poll, 23 percent of voters are undecided. If those undecideds stay home, Norwood could win on Nov. 3. If undecided voters split in roughly the same manner as the rest of the electorate, with Norwood getting 41 percent, the councilwoman could still win without a runoff.

This summer, the local unveiling of indie documentary on the experiences of two whistleblowers in Albany, Ga., who tried to draw attention to the finances of non-profit Phoebe Putney Health System, was interrupted by legal wranglings.

Which have now been resolved.

A screening for “Do No Harm” is set for Albany at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Merry Acres Event Center. Another screening will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema. Both are free.

The documentary has political implications in Georgia. Former Dougherty County prosecutor Ken Hodges, who is now running for attorney generally, is featured prominently.

State Rep. Austin Scott, a GOP candidate for governor, had this interesting paragraph in a weekend op-ed piece on the state’s water crisis:

I believe that Georgia and Alabama had an agreement to resolve their portion of the crisis on the table and ready for signature. Based on my inquiries, it also appears that the Governor of Alabama withdrew his support for the agreement at the request of Alabama Power—a subsidiary of the Southern Company, which is headquartered in our very own Atlanta, Georgia. I was not present when the decision was made, and if they dispute this, I have no hard evidence to substantiate my belief. But this should give them a good opportunity to correct me if I am wrong.

On the weekend that President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, Democrats opened a booth at the Georgia National Fair in Houston County. It included a life-size cut-out of Obama.

The following was posted by 73-year-old Kristinia Sims, a local activist, at Georgia Women Vote:

I would like to say that it surprised me when a young man stood in front of our booth and went through the motions of firing an imaginary rifle in the direction of an image of the President of the United States.

It doesn’t surprise me because I was at the same booth last year and encountered the same type of verbal abuse.

What does surprise and shock me is the culture of violence and disrespect for the Presidency that is taking root in my beloved United States of America.

Southern Voice, the local newspaper aimed at gay readers, has latched onto a May 11 deposition given by Legislative Counsel Sewell Brumby in the matter of Vandy Beth Glenn, a former editor in his office who was fired after announcing intentions to transition from male to female:

Although the legislative cousel office has four one-stall gender-neutral bathrooms, Brumby was concerned about what would happen if Glenn were to use one of the public women’s bathrooms. He also expressed personal concerns about his reactions to Glenn’s transition.

“I think it would have made it very uncomfortable and emotionally upsetting for me to communicate with Mr. Morrison under those circumstances, and I imagined that some other number of our employees would feel likewise,” he said.

“It makes me think about things I don’t like to think about, particularly at work … I think it’s unsettling to think of someone dressed in women’s clothing with male sexual organs inside that clothing.

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

>Most of money intended to train teens behind wheel goes elsewhere.
  • No walking away from panhandling problem.
  • Isakson confident tri-state water deal will be made.
  • East Pointers owe city due to underbilling.
  • Newton county commissioner charged with battery.
  • Douglas County road project to spur big changes.
  • Clayton to learn accreditation fate in 30 days.
  • Fired Clark Atlanta coach charges racial discrimination.
  • Ethics panel members report neglect in DeKalb County.
  • Forsyth IT director alleged to have withheld evidence in child porn case.
  • Obama says he will end ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’
  • Some opinion:

    >Cynthia Tucker on the Pentagon’s changing opinion of gay soldiers.
  • Kyle Wingfield says conservative objections to ObamaCare about more than money.
  • Marietta: Bonds raise debt — and questions.
  • And from beyond:

  • NYT: U.S. still can’t trace foreign visitors on expired visas.
  • WSJ: U.N. envoy calls Afghan fraud widespread.
  • LAT: North Carolina’s dividing line on John Edwards.
  • For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

    36 comments Add your comment


    October 12th, 2009
    9:39 am

    Austin Scott – clueless, must have melted some brain cells on his walk. He also claims we can fix the water problem just through conservation. My man Ox has the answer – more reservoirs.


    October 12th, 2009
    9:48 am

    I don’t care! As long as does not win.

    Donny Fairplay

    October 12th, 2009
    9:51 am

    “What does surprise and shock me is the culture of violence and disrespect for the Presidency that is taking root in my beloved United States of America.”

    And the intellectual dishonesty that pervades conversations to resolve it.

    Coastal Cavalier

    October 12th, 2009
    9:53 am

    “What does surprise and shock me is the culture of violence and disrespect for the Presidency that is taking root in my beloved United States of America.”

    Where was her surprise and shock at the violence and disrespect shown GWB by Democrats?

    World (Atlanta) Without (Lisa) Borders

    October 12th, 2009
    9:59 am

    And I don’t care as long as Borders does not win.

    Four more years of business as usual at City Hall is the last thing we need.

    Donny Fairplay

    October 12th, 2009
    9:59 am

    This is a race in Black and White.

    The poll favoring Mary Norwood is no surprise. The Reed and Borders camps have spent all of their energies fighting over the Black vote. Reed pits HBCU students against Borders and most recently calls her a Republican. Meanwhile, Mary (I actually served as a delegate to the GOP convention) Norwood is able to saunter into the mayor’s office without having to answer a question.

    The Turpeau situation didn’t hurt to turn white voters against both of the Black candidates while making Norwood look like the second coming of Obama. Maybe Atlanta is more tired of a Black mayors than of idiots.


    October 12th, 2009
    9:59 am

    Can we get the live debates up and broadcasted out to everyone so EACH Atlantan can see that Mary is dumb, dumb, dumb!

    Donny Fairplay

    October 12th, 2009
    10:01 am

    @Coastal Cavalier

    I’m assuming that you’re an adult. I don’t have to assume that you’re an idiot for arguing that two wrongs make a right.

    Care Atlanta

    October 12th, 2009
    10:03 am

    Will Atlanta start paying attention to this race! A reincarnation of the Atlanta’s George W. Bush is about to take office. Do people not realize this!

    Mark Richt

    October 12th, 2009
    10:04 am

    Can ya’ll please talk Paul Johnson into running for Mayor and get him off the football field. I hear he is great a turning around mediocre programs in a couple seasons!


    October 12th, 2009
    10:11 am

    @ World without Borders “four more years of business as usual”

    Moronic Mary has been on the Council for the last 7 years and still has no idea where our money went. If you want a continuation of incompetence then Mary Norwood 09′ is your vote.


    October 12th, 2009
    10:18 am

    I don’t know about you all, but the most striking discrepancies to me about this “poll” are not only the fact that the people who conducted it have failed to disclose their identity AND employers, but that they failed to disclose how this poll was conducted. The fact that they only polled 600 Atlanta voters is a testament to the fact that it is as vague as it is informative. In addition, the fact that the Norwood campaign would order this out now, a month after the fact, tells me that they’ve been saving it for when they really need it.

    I don’t know about you all, but as a concerned and responsible Atlanta citizen, I’ll wait for something actually resembling a legitimate poll before I give it a first look.


    October 12th, 2009
    10:43 am

    @Care Atlanta:

    Uh-oh. Will we now see the Borders and Reed campaigns replaying Fulton Chairman’s John Eaves campaign strategy of equating a vote for a white candidate with a return to police using fire-hoses and police dogs on African-Americans?

    It might get them elected like it did for Eaves — but look at the cost. Eaves misguided campaign has helped boost the right-wingers who want North Fulton to create a separate county. No matter how professional and thoughtful John Eaves performs — and he is very qualified for the job — his tactics have created an irreperable breach with voters in North Fulton.

    I agree that Mary Norwood is not too bright and would make a lousy Mayor — but the inevitable tactic of painting her and all her supporters as racist will make it difficult to heal the city’s racial divide and will give the impression that whether its Borders or Reed that wins, they won by dividing the electorate, not by uniting the city.


    October 12th, 2009
    11:12 am

    Donnie Fairplay, Frid, Care Atlanta and Martin,

    Scared aintcha! Numbers don’t lie or rationalize – people do! Don’t know where you’ve been, but you should probably ask the folks in communities from Kirkwood, Jonesboro South, Adamsville, Adams Park, Oakland City, Greenbriar, Carver Homes, Adair Park, to name a few (basically districts 1,3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11 AND 12), you know, the ones where black folks live and are actually supporting Norwood (publically or not).

    If you want to discredit their perspectives, then so be it. Regardless, IT IS WHAT IT IS. As the old saying goes…”Everybody can’t be wrong.” It doesn’t matter what you say to vilify the woman. At the end of the day, people are tired of the same old sh*t and the same old story. They know BS when they see it and they want a change.

    If you were familiar with or lived in any of these communities (which I have for a lifetime), none of you would be proud to endorse, speak highly of or support any of the current “politicians” or anyone they are connected to. They are the very ones who have ridden the communties down – at the expense of the communities themselves; not white folks. Yes, your own so-called leaders are still trying to sell you the same bag of empty goods, and you are apparently still willing to buy, under the guise of racism and divisiveness. Get your money, but take care of your community. And that HAS NOT happened. Close your eyes and pick a neighborhood or community in one of these districts – SAME Sh*t.

    Basically all of you should just admit that it’s really a black/white thing and call it a day. You obviously want to keep getting the same thing you have been getting for at least 25 years (or the mid 80’s) – NOTHING that benefits our community at their helm – NOTHING!

    Newsflash: Barack Obama wouldn’t be president if white folks hadn’t voted for him – even if every black person in America had. Heaven forbid our children and future generations from hearing or being subjected to this continued us-against-them tomfoolery.

    If I follow your logic correctly, then you are simply gonna stay at home for future Governor’s, U.
    S. Senatorial, and Presidential races if there isn’t a formidable black candidate running – which there likely won’t be.


    October 12th, 2009
    11:53 am

    From The Augusta Chronicle:

    Nathan Deal wants us to believe his remark about “ghetto grandmothers” has been taken out of context.

    So we’re just curious: Under what exact circumstances would it not be offensive for a white male gubernatorial candidate to be talking about “ghetto grandmothers”?

    Hmm. We can’t think of any, either.

    Sorry, Mr. Congressman. What you said is highly offensive in any and all contexts. Quit trying to blame your opponents for your own moronic remark, sir.

    Here’s what he said, regarding voter verification, to a Cherokee County Republican Party gathering recently:

    “We got all the complaints of the ghetto grandmothers who didn’t have birth certificates and all that. We wrote some very liberal language as to how you can verify it. My mother was born in 1906 and she didn’t have a birth certificate. They didn’t give birth certificates back then. But we got her one, because you can do it under the proper procedures of your state.”

    There. There’s the context. Feel better?

    We thought not. The remark represents a 1950s-era sensibility.

    Not only is Nathan Deal radioactive now — and quite likely unelectable — but he’s in even more hot water than that: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has filed an ethics complaint against Deal with the U.S. House after it came to light that not only was his private company doing business with the state of Georgia, but he and his congressional staff have been contacting state officials to keep the deal going.

    Deal and a business partner had a contract with the state to inspect salvaged vehicles that have been rebuilt. Deal has recently ended the 20-year arrangement. But according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Deal previously met with state officials to try to convince them to preserve the program.

    Deal also wants us to believe that his and his staff’s dealings with the state are being taken out of context.

    “Deal said in August he did nothing wrong and was not using his public office for personal gain,” the Atlanta paper reported. “Instead, he said, he was helping constituents and making sure an important state program continued to protect the safety of Georgians.”

    Oh, so it was for our benefit. Right.

    He’s now going about the business of trying to salvage his 2010 run to succeed Gov. Sonny Perdue.

    He’ll be doing that for our sakes, too, one supposes.


    October 12th, 2009
    12:22 pm

    GoOX is truly the clueless one. Your a fool. Ox wants to fill the state full of concrete with his massive reservoir plan and his pave the east side of Atlanta plan. He wants to do this while implementing the fair tax. If Ox has his way Georgia will be in debt for years to come, most certainly for years after every one figures how horrible he is after his first four years. GoOX my only advice for you is to use your mind and don’t blindly follow your corrupt (in family and self) faux leader. As a conservative who has never voted for anything other then republican I will gladly work on the Barnes or Baker campaign if Ox is the GOP’s choice.


    October 12th, 2009
    12:47 pm

    I’ve seen a few of these debates, and although I dont necessarily like Kasim or Borders…Mary Norwood is not Mayor material. I would love her to head some community outreach program focusing on crime, but she cannot be the mayor of Atlanta (Maybe Sandy Springs). All that small town talk is nice…but Atlanta has big city issues with big city players. At the very least we need a mayor will not be run over. And I see that in the future if Mary is the next mayor.

    I personally like Spikes the best, but it seems that he is often left out of the top candidates talk. However, I will be fine with whoever wins, as long as they keep Atlanta business growing, make efforts to deter crime, expand MARTA, and allow for transparency into their administration we will have a win for the city.

    Norwood for Private Citizen

    October 12th, 2009
    1:19 pm

    Mary Norwood winning is a terrible nightmare for Atlanta that may come true. She is an irrational crazy conspiracy theorist dressed up as a grassroots post-racial candidate. She puts on a great act for the campaign but, those who know her best are deeply concerned for Atlanta should she actually pull this off.


    October 12th, 2009
    1:30 pm

    Norwood will not win. She will face and lose to Reed in the run-off.


    October 12th, 2009
    1:47 pm

    Poll doesn’t surprise me as Norwood ahs been running for MAyor since day on the Council. SHe’s been out in teh community listening and responding acoording to many. Not sure what the other 3 candidates have been doing but Norwood’s agenda has been clear. Her tv ad hits tthe high points. She advocated a performance audit of the Water Dept. The ad
    fails to mention the audit didn’t find mismanagement, overpaying, fraud or corruption……I’m not sure why she thinks business doesn’t pay ttheir sahre of taxes… I thought she didn’t beleive the financial reports or at least didn’t understand them. Somehow Norwood has mangaed to convince 40% (if you accept this poll) or nearly 35% (if you prefer Towery’s poll)of likely voters that she has the experience and skills to be the city CEO during one of it’s most challenging periods… You have to give it to her. She’s run a terrific campaign for 8 years sometimes with public funding using hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars from her Council budget. As for Spikes, Borders and Reed without funding to get their agendas better known, Norwood wins. She has higher name id, more money for ads, more citywide election experience and apparently lower negatives than the others. It isn’t about race or even gender. It’s about 8 years of working the neighborhoods and getting yourself known even if all you’ve offered is a phone call.

    Gimme that Becky

    October 12th, 2009
    2:35 pm

    Atlanta, wake up. Empty rhetoric and schmoozing do not mean someone cares or has a vested interest in your community or progress. Mary is the ultimate politician and is doing the best job campaigning, but doesn’t have the amount of experience or quality needed to lead this city.

    sammye is right, she’s been campaigning since she got on city council.

    Kasim Reed and Lisa Borders are not the same. Kasim is proven to be crooked and corrupt and merely makes the 750 Police Officers statement over and over again. Lisa has put together actual plans and drafts for potential ways to enable the city’s progress if elected.

    Lastly, Jesse Spikes is a good guy, but today you need more than just good character or intentions.

    Truth be told

    October 12th, 2009
    3:48 pm

    If servicing her city-wide constituency is her way of running for office, I say GO MARY. These other stuffed shirts only want to deal with the voters at election time. Meanwhile Mary has been working for the support of the citizens for 8 years straight.

    For those of you who say that Mary isn’t smart enough to be mayor, what does it say that she’s beating the pants off your candidate?

    Mary’s plenty smart, and she’s plenty tough too. Most importantly, she has sound values and she knows enough to put experts who agree with her philosophy of getting the financial house in order and tending to basic services for the citizens, instead of catering to the developers and big business.

    Mary is just what Atlanta needs and people of good will, both black and white, can see her sincerity.

    Angry Taxpayer

    October 12th, 2009
    4:31 pm

    The best way to elect change – raise taxes 42%. Given that our family income is half of what was last year and the City just jacked up my taxes because of Mayor Franklin’s years of financial mismanagement – my neighborhood will vote if it is raining, sleeting, snowing, flooding, or just plain pretty outside. It is our only opportunity to voice our discontent and the facts are people who are pissed off vote!

    Morehouse Guy

    October 12th, 2009
    5:05 pm

    So, how exactly does Councilwoman Norwood intend to put our fiscal house in order AND make good on her promises to expand the police force and Atlanta Fire Rescue, restore pay increments for both APD and AFR without either raising some form of revenue (of which property taxes are only form of revenue stream that comes into the City)? The CFO himself has said the City is revenue-starved, and you can empanel blue-ribbon commissions until the cows come home, but the hard truth is that the City will be forced to more stringently enforce existing laws that generate revenue (e.g. you’re going to get a few more parking tickets, your drinks at the bar might have an extra levy, etc.) or up the ante on other fees, fines and/or taxes coming into the City. It’s the cold, hard truth that none of the candidates are being complete honest about, but though Ms. Norwood has been the most misleading.

    All of the candidates have talked about moving forward with the Select Committee on Pension’s reform recommendations, and to their credit, Lisa and Kasim have both identified revenue streams for public safety in particular (with Senator proposing a dedicated 1 mil and Ms. Borders proposing a point of sales tax and taking over sales tax collection from the state). Their proposals have shortcomings but we’ve seen NOTHING from Mary on the revenue side. Her response: Elect me, and I’ll figure it out. Now, if Kasim or Lisa said that, some folks in Atlanta would have a field day.

    Mary’s great on constituent services. But she’s promising the City the sky and doesn’t want to raise taxes on the assumption that the money is mysteriously already floating around (and Shirley nor CFO Glass has been able to find it), and only she can find it. Being angry won’t cut it. People in Atlanta like to think that privatization is the City’s silver bullet (despite United Water), but without a solid business case for doing so, you’re not going to get at the heart of the City’s two largest line items — public safety (which we arguably don’t spend enough on) and pensions. And on the former, Mary is leaving voters hanging.

    The next Mayor must demonstrate PRECISELY how: a) they’d optimize existing revenue streams; b) they’d collecting outstanding fees, taxes and fines already owed the City; c) create a more manageable pension obligation; and, d) restrain spending in the City going forward. Of the three major candidates, Mary has been the least persuasive on this front. Being “plenty tough” and “plenty smart” is plenty foolish without an agenda on day one of your mayoralty. Mary’s yet to deliver on this point, and yet, angry taxpayers are going to put her in office?


    October 12th, 2009
    5:23 pm

    If white folks vote for Mary Norwood just because she’s White, they are just as wrong and foolish as Black folks who voted for Barack Obama just because he is Black.

    They too will reap the consequences of voting on color and not principal or policy.


    October 12th, 2009
    5:26 pm

    “Truth be told” – Obama has proven that being smart enough to be elected does not mean you are smart enough to govern. Norwood and Borders are part of the entrenched leadership that got Atlanta in a pickle in the first place.

    Angry Taxpayer

    October 12th, 2009
    9:09 pm

    You guys dont get it – nobody but inside baseball reads this. Do you really think this has any impact on the election? People vote because they are motivated – what do you think will motivate the electorate this year? Do you think you racial bullsh*t will do it – how about electing someone who genuinly wants to fix a City that is entirely broken. Most important – you can not stop it for all of your special interest cra*t!

    Wow, Just Wow

    October 12th, 2009
    11:01 pm

    Thanks Angry Taxpayer, I get sick of reading campaign comments. Whatever they are getting paid, I’m sure there is a better use of their time. Get outside and wave some dayum yardsigns and knock on some doors. Call voters personally (no more robocalls!) and tell them why your candidate is the right man/ woman for the job. But for God’s sake, get off the message boards. You’re wasting your time and your candidate gains nothing. Forget the polls and get to work. The only poll that matters is the one they take on election day. Sheesh!

    Morehouse Guy

    October 12th, 2009
    11:08 pm

    So, why exactly does everyone assume that anyone who voices support in favor of or against a candidate works for another candidate? There are plants on these blogs, but everyone with an opinion isn’t a plant. Never ceases to amaze me how we throw around baseless allegations about this. Instead of actually taking on the merits of what people say, we instead dismiss them as an insider. I see this blog isn’t quite the exchange of ideas I thought it was.


    October 12th, 2009
    11:13 pm

    Polls matter to candidates, donors and voters…Without donations of personal funding candidaes don’t get their messae out. Norwood spent public money to hold small community meetings.. Agree with others that was smart strategy that has worked for her. The question is does she have an agenda for Atlanta residents and businesses or will she continue her meetings letting the “experts” she hires do the work, make the decisions, develop the policy recommendations. If her strength is consitutent services then who will be the city’s CEO as required by City Charter? Her approach to policy and management sounds much too like George W for me. The approach failed at the federal level and it will fail in Atlanta. Atlanta needs a acompetent, hard working CEO not a communications or or outreach manager. Norwood fails the test of articulating her vision, her platform, her strategies and assuring the public she is competent. This doesn’t mean she can’t garner enough votes to win in November. This poll isn’t much different from the Towery polls….

    Morehouse Guy

    October 13th, 2009
    12:21 am

    Here, here to sammye. Captures my concerns about Mary — does she have the independent knowledge base to consume what these “experts” produce? Executives delegate, but they do pursuant to a coherent plan for the organization they are about to lead. Nothing about Ms. Norwood’s record or her platform leads me to believe she is the best candidate for the job. She may very well win, but I think the City’s voters would be doing themselves a disservice.

    Just waiting on someone to say I am being paid by Lisa. I was being paid by Kasim in a different entry.

    Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

    October 13th, 2009
    8:36 am

    A “poll” of 15,000 satanic angels has “fallen into my hands”: every single one of them wants Mary Norwood, cursed by G-d, to be Mayor of Atlanta. Why would anyone doubt it?

    Atlanta voter

    October 13th, 2009
    5:07 pm

    I think it’s interesting that so people “in the know” missed all the grass root activities that Mary Norwood has been involved with. She has returned phone calls and responded to people in neighborhoods who are used to be ignored. When she’s elected mayor, she’ll continue to help them.That’s why she’s getting their vote.

    Caspian Fontaine

    October 16th, 2009
    9:17 am

    I’ve always liked Mary. I think she’s real. City of Atlanta needs a shake up in the Mayor’s office.

    [...] started this week by telling you of a private poll that showed Councilwoman Mary Norwood doing better than many people thought – and within reach of [...]


    January 23rd, 2010
    7:58 pm

    Anybody know how Ken Hodges is polling in that Attorney General primary race? Have there even been any poll numbers released?