State Democrats jump into Atlanta mayor’s race against Mary Norwood

The state Democratic party is about to jump into the Atlanta mayor’s race in an attempt to block front-runner Mary Norwood, whom party chairman Jane Kidd said this evening is a “duplicitous” Republican.

A mailer is set to hit Atlanta voters “sooner rather than later,” Kidd confirmed – most probably on Thursday.

The Democratic party is making no endorsement in what is supposed to be a non-partisan contest, but the flyer will include the photos of both state senator Kasim Reed and City Council President Lisa Borders – Norwood’s closest rivals. Each is identified as an authentic Democrat.

Kidd wouldn’t say how much money Democrats were putting into the effort.

“As far as we’re concerned, Mary Norwood’s a Republican. She’s been trying to dodge the issue of her partisan allegiance,” Kidd said. “We’re concerned that she’s not being truthful about her party affiliation. We think that she should be called out on that.”

The move prompted an angry defense from Norwood’s campaign manager, Roman Levit, a veteran Democrat organizer and former staffer for the state party.

“Mary Norwood is a progressive candidate who votes almost exclusively Democratic. She supported Barack Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton,” Levit said. “There was H. Ross Perot.”

But 23 percent of the country voted for the independent candidate, he noted.

On Sunday, after a debate, the city councilwoman was asked whether she had voted for President George W. Bush. She said she couldn’t remember. The next day, an aide said she had not voted for a Republican in the last five presidential elections.

Norwood has conceded that she was a delegate to the 1999 state GOP convention, but said the experience turned her away from party politics.

“In the 2000s, the only republican primaries she voted in were ones where Democrats were unopposed,” Levit said. “She wanted to make sure some crazy person was not elected out of the Republican primary.”

Levit pointed to his own Democratic credentials. He has directed campaigns for U.S. Rep. John Barrow. Norwood’s media strategist, Jim Duffy, is a respected Democrat – as are Norwood’s other professional advisors.

“That doesn’t really matter,” said Kidd. “We’re talking about the candidate. The person that’s going to be mayor of Atlanta should reflect the Democratic nature of Atlanta. She’s not saying what she is. She’s being duplicitous. She can’t have it both ways.”

Levit warned that the move could hurt the Democratic party.

“Presidents Clinton and Obama have busted their you-know-whats to expand this party, bring in progressive-minded independents. What they’re doing is they’re trying to drive out independents,” Levit said. “Some of these attacks are all about exclusiveness.

“Why does Jane Kidd want to drive away a person who supports marriage equality, a person who is pro-choice, who supports health care reform, who is a progressive on the issues that matter to Democrats? Why is she trying to drive her away instead of embracing her?” Levit asked.

Voices for the Reed and Border campaigns said they had been informed of the mailing, but said they did not instigate party participation.

However, both campaigns this week have introduced ads touting their Democratic credentials.

The Reed campaign on Thursday will launch a radio ad featuring Atlanta’s first black mayor and his daughter Brook Jackson-Edmond. “Wake up, Democrats!” Jackson says in a recording from his address to the 1992 Democratic National Convention. Jackson’s daughter calls Reed “the only true Democrat in this race.”

On Tuesday, the Borders campaign launched a TV ad featuring five women around a kitchen counter, discussing the issue of crime.

Here’s the portion of the script that takes a large swipe at Norwood:

First woman: I’ve been in Atlanta a long time. And it’s time for these things to change.

Second woman: We need new leadership.

First woman: What we need is a Democrat.

Third woman: We need Lisa Borders.

See the ad here:

Watch this development closely. The unions have yet to weigh in, so expect the fight over party to get much louder. And remember that the outcome could have a great deal of bearing on next year’s 2010 race for governor.

Editor’s note: Given the impending Atlanta mayoral election, instant commenting has been closed on the Political Insider blog. Readers are invited to submit comments on all posts, which will be published as soon as possible after review.

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65 comments Add your comment

Road Scholar

October 28th, 2009
7:51 pm

Are Georgia’s Dems more stupid than its Repubs?


October 28th, 2009
8:25 pm

The Ga. Democratic party is one of the worst in the nation, this will do nothing but help Norwood. Jane Kidd has done nothing to help the democratic party in GA other than put out silly one liners and has got beat statewide every time(Aside from Baker and Thurmond (who had their positions before this current democratic party).

A Political Demographer

October 28th, 2009
9:15 pm

Here’s an ironic twist: the State Senate caucus, where K. Reed has been a leader, in recent years has sent direct mailings into rural White constituencies attempting to elect right-wing Democrats that are utterly indistinguishable from direct mail that Republicans do. K. Reed is quite happy to act as a Democrat-in-name-only when it suits him.

Burroughston Broch

October 28th, 2009
9:18 pm

Given the direction of the state and national Democratic leadership, are you surprised? Given the speeches and actions of the present Mayor, are you surprised? Entitlement is the name of their political focus. Mary Norwood doesn’t fit their focus.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 28th, 2009
9:23 pm

Mary Bush Norwood’s saying she couldn’t remember whether she voted for George W. Bush is just as truthful as George H.W. Bush’s saying he could not recall his whereabouts upon hearing of John Kennedy’s assassination.


October 28th, 2009
10:01 pm

Is democrat now code for black? ’cause trust me there isn’t a single Republican in this fight.

I voted today

October 28th, 2009
10:17 pm

How does the Borders ad distinguish her from her rivals? ..”We need new leadership…a democrat?” Maybe there is no difference. And what is the token whitey thrown in the ad supposed to demonstrate? Mary’s ad are far superior..but I guess she has the leg up since she is in the media business. BTW…Go Mary!


October 28th, 2009
10:19 pm

Who freaking cares??? It’s a non-partisan race and clearly whoever is elected will have to work well with state GOP leaders to get Atlanta what it needs. All three of the top candidates have a good arguement for being able to do that. How can Reed and Borders protests Norwood’s so-called affiliations while touting their own bi-partisan work? This just doesn’t make sense. I guess the panic attack is aimed at keeping Norwood from reaching 50 + 1. Let’s hope they come up with something better…

Devin Barrington Ward

October 28th, 2009
11:23 pm

This is so ironic when Mary did not have fundraiser hosted by a Republican Fulton County Commissioner, but Lisa did and had several Democratic State Lawmakers denounce her for it. The Democratic Party needs to learn how to pick its battles this is not one the should engage in?


October 28th, 2009
11:54 pm

Wait a second! The democrats and Jane Kidd are against Mary Norwood? Well, she is a shoe in now. I can’t think of a race that involved over 10K voters that the Democrat Party has actually won.

Midtown Mania

October 29th, 2009
12:12 am

I support the state party’s position: Norwood’s record speaks for itself. Her supporters are not concerned with real, effective leadership. They are preoccupied with the abstract myth of radical change equaling progress.

I’m sure Mary Norwood is a nice woman but she is leading a very deceptive campaign. The issue with George Bush is one of credibility. She should answer honestly. The voters want to know.

Even the ad featuring the so-called high mileage Buick is misleading. A 12 year old car with less than 95,000 miles on it, and that equals “running all over town” for constituents? Give me a break here please. I’ve got a 2003 model with more miles than that and I’m not running for anything!

Vote sanely and reasonably. Lisa Borders!

Karzai Kate

October 29th, 2009
12:47 am

Bravo for the State Democratic Party to get involved in a nonpartisan race. Like we need another example of our state government sticking their noses where they don’t belong. For this reason, I can’t vote for Kasim Reed. I mean, he’s a Democratic Senator, right?

Also, I don’t see how someone’s ad spot value equates to them being Mayor. Personally, I’m not impressed with any of the ads. The recession has definitely hit the candidates hard.

Politics At Its Finest

October 29th, 2009
2:49 am

Reed is the only one in the race that has been elected as a democrat. (D) in House and Senate.

Anyone else….all we can do is speculate. However, I don’t think Borders was a Republican convention delegate at any point in her life.

Norwood, it’s ok that you are a Republican. I don’t know why you feel you need to “hide” it.


October 29th, 2009
6:30 am

Putting aside this ad’s cheese factor, poor script, very bad lighting and wooden acting, why has Mr. Galloway featured it in two different threads in the past couple days? Has anyone actually seen the ad on television? Or is the AJC the only place this ad is running?

Oh, and BTW, does anyone look at this group of women and think these are people who would ever be hanging out in a kitchen together chatting like this? Ads shouldn’t seem this staged, nor patronizing.

The reasons Borders never connected with the electorate are on display in this ad. Its clear she wants the title and power of being mayor, but hasn’t quite figured out why we should give her the job. We can tell she’s trying to tell us what she thinks we want to hear. That wasn’t a winning strategy for John McCain or Hillary Clinton. What made Lisa Borders think it would work for her?


October 29th, 2009
6:41 am

Norwood stances have been far more ‘democratic’ than Reed and Borders. Both Reed and Borders have both accepted more money from GOP interests than Norwood…’democrat’ seems to be the code word for ‘black’.


October 29th, 2009
7:02 am

Mary Norwood was asked if she voted for George W. Bush and she said, “I can’t remember”, which leads any rational person to believe that she did indeed vote for Mr. Bush. She voted for Bush in an election defined by gay marriage and other polarizing issues (Thanks to Karl Rove). However, she’s been running and pandering for Mayor for over 4 years, so of course she’s not going to take a platform stance supporting an issue that would automatically exclude her. Her response also begs the question, what does Norwood have to hide? The DPG understands that Norwood has done nothing to uphold their interests and wants to ensure that the electorate isn’t fooled into believing that Norwood has Democrat leanings. They had to take the blue out of that purple impersonator.


October 29th, 2009
7:37 am

This election has shifted into full gear now into “Get Whitey”. Leave skin color out of this and focus on the issues:

City finances / budget deficit
Quality of services provided vs. cost
Schools – are they going to get better with the status quot?
Roads / Traffic
Down town – is it safe?
Add your personal issues

Now, look at each candidates credentials and ask yourself which one has the real desire to change these, and are they doing this because they have a vested interest in the change?


October 29th, 2009
7:40 am

As a black man I’m really becoming totally fed up with black leadership. Disgusting absolutely disgusting!

[...] what she is. We think that she should be called out on that.” [Galloway, Jim (2009-10-28). State Democrats jump into Atlanta mayor’s race against Mary Norwood. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved on [...]


October 29th, 2009
8:22 am

It’s interesting that at this point in the campaign, Borders is running ads aimed at what should be her base – African American Women – while both Norwood and Reed seem comfortable within their base and are branching out with their ads.

This reminds me of the Obama-McCain election, where Obama was visiting Republican strongholds towards the end while McCain scrambled to try to get votes he should have had locked up early on. Or Reagan visiting Minnesota the weekend before his trounce of its hometown hero Mondale. We all know how those elections turned out.

If you are still trying to attract what should be your base this close to when voters are heading to the polls, you are in very sad shape indeed.

Ira in East Lake

October 29th, 2009
8:34 am

I’m not a Mary fan but this is a really stupid idea. This will mobilize the GOPers and all the lazy ignorant bigots out there to show up and vote. GaDems have just given the election to Mary. No run-off.



October 29th, 2009
8:50 am

Each of the three candidates (Spikes too) will serve the master(s) that got them there.
Kasim Reed – the existing machine in power
Lisa Borders – the OTP Republicans
Mary Norwood – the intown Republicans

I know exactly where the machine has gotten us, having lived in Midtown for 15 yrs and owning a business inside the City limit.
I know where the OTP Republicans want to go, or more accurately, what they think of Atlanta and what they’d like to do, having worked for the State and lots of OTP Pubs thru business.
That leaves the intown Republicans.

At this point i’ll take the devil I don’t know over the two that I do. (Which isn’t exactly true, every time I had a problem i got faster and better results from Mary’s staff than i did my own Council nitwit/democrat).
At least the intown Republicans live here, have some idea of the nuances of the place, hopefully have a fiscally sound streak in them, and hopefully will have the clout and b***s to break the merit system that keeps so many incompentents in their jobs at City Hall.

As a long-time Democrat, I’m voting for Norwood.

Angry Taxpayer

October 29th, 2009
9:02 am

A great thing about non-partisan elections is that partisan positions do not come into the picture. They are left at the door so that people can focus on the problem rather than the Party. It also makes it possible to run as a social liberal and fiscal conservative.

The State Democratic Party stepping in to beat up the little white lady will have long-term ramifications. First, most of Mary’s support comes from voters that identify themselves as Dems. Second, those independents and we are many will certainly have opinions about this for the future. As a result, the State Democratic Party will suffer a significant blow in support.

These kinds of actions will ultimately relegate the State Democratic Party to the back seat in Georgia for generations. While this probably makes Republicans happy on the State wide level seeing this massive crack open up in Atlanta, I personally don’t think this is a good thing as competition is good. But I promise you that if I see one of these mailers, I WILL NO LONGER BE INDEPENDENT.


October 29th, 2009
9:09 am

Ira in East Lake – you are the idiot by classifying “all GOPers” as lazy ignorant bigots! Voting on party line alone is the act of a stupid individual, which you’ve already demonstrated you are.

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 29th, 2009
9:35 am

Discernment is granted to us all.

Through election let us choose to be blessed by one who is blessed by G-d rather than cursed by one whose line is ended: gaslighted into placing a proven liar, endorsed almost exclusively by those who recently sported “Sarah Palin” signs in their front yards, into office over us, our children, and our fairest of cities.

As Americans, shall Atlanta above all other cities, take seriously Our Creed? “E Pluribus Unum;”"Novus Ordo Seclorem;” and above all, “Annuit Coeptis?”

G-d is not mocked.

Shall G-d’s grace continue to be shed upon Atlanta; or, shall we be cursed as America has been by the Bush/Cheney regime: a curse on Our Nation which is only now being lifted with the righteous election of Barack Obama.

America’s Divine Covenant is restored but the fight against Tory treason continues.

Mary Bush Norwood claims to have forgotten whether she voted for George W. Bush. Note the family resemblance, particularly with his father, the former president whose father was Hitler’s banker, and who claimed to be unable to recall his whereabouts upon hearing of President Kennedy’s assassination.

Atlanta is being sifted to see if we’ll fail as Our Nation did by permitting Mary Bush Norwood’s cousin to be appointed president by her parents’ co-religionists – the same identified as “the real Anti-Christ” by Our Founder, whose “Eternal City” claims to “own the world” and tried to prove it with 2,000 years of slavery and the Middle Passage – on the Supreme Court.

Has she forgotten where she worships, or if she does?

What else does Mary Norwood have to “hide?”

From Linkedln:

Executive Vice President
Rounsaville Radio
October 1974 — November 1991 (17 years 2 months)

Which “activity,” along with marriage to a retired pediatrician-cum-”Floral Arrangement Artist,” took her from college graduation past her childbearing years, until just before her oft-married “mentor” and employer died in 1992.

Now she seeks the appearance of legitimacy by fooling us into believing she, a Republican convention delegate, never voted for either of her Bush clansmen.

Lisa Borders pulled from the mayor’s race to look after her aging parents and has a son who graduated with Honors from our own excellent Georgia State University. She is a sound thinker and respectable, with every appearance of a Woman of Virtue. Scandal fails to touch her. She won’t be an embarrassment.

Dr. King’s hometown has a clear choice next Tuesday.

Shall we, who must be the prophesied New Jerusalem, “go with G-d?”

That is my prayer.


October 29th, 2009
9:49 am

I’ve never voted Republican in a presidential election, but I could vote for one in the mayor’s race. However, I could never support a person who could not remember whether she voted for W.

Ira in East Lake

October 29th, 2009
9:55 am

Horseboy – I did not call GOPers anything. I wrote, “GOPers and all the lazy ignorant bigots…” Two distinct groups there, young man.

Reading comprehension is a learned skill. Please learn it soon.

Grant Park

October 29th, 2009
10:01 am

Seems to me the State Democrat Party is very afraid of a white mayor in the state’s largest city or maybe its a white female mayor–which is very similar to Jane Kidd, and she must remain the only white female kid on this democratic block. Either this is a turf war or Jane Kidd just drew the stupidist racial line in the sand that a once proud and mighty state party has ever seen. Its sad and pathetic, and Jane Kidd is just doing this for personal gain for her US Senate bid.

[...] decision by state Democratic party chairman Jane Kidd to jump into the Atlanta mayor’s race against front-runner Mary Norwood is drawing mixed reviews this [...]


October 29th, 2009
10:03 am


The Georgia Democratic Party is right to get involved with this race. Metro Atlanta is one of the few places in Georgia where democrats have a voice. Yes the Atlanta municipal posts are non-partisan but why can’t Norwood just be honest about her affiliations? “In the 2000s, the only republican primaries she voted in were ones where Democrats were unopposed,” Levit said. “She wanted to make sure some crazy person was not elected out of the Republican primary.” Is Norwood saying Republicans are crazy. The Republican Party actually stands for good things, it’s just the extreme right that turns so many progressives away from the party.

It is my understanding the her husband contributed and raised lots of money for Saxby Chambliss against Jim Martin.

Angrier Taxpayer

October 29th, 2009
10:30 am

“What we need is a Democrat” WTF?? Aren’t the Dems. the ones who have had control of the city the last 30+ years, voted themselves an increase in pensions that we can’t afford?? (city employee pensions are now funded at LESS than 55%), and NOW have a debt of over 125 MILLION dollars because their accounting methods couldn’t add 2+2 with three tries?? I’m voting for change & someone outside ANY political party framework.

Independent Politico

October 29th, 2009
11:42 am

Personally, I find Mrs. Norwwood’s “inability” to remember if she voted for Bush or not to be quite telling. Does she really expect us to believe that she’s so ditzy that she can’t even remember who she voted for a couple of elections ago? And even if we did, why would we elect someone so absent minded? Kasim Reed for mayor!!!


October 29th, 2009
11:47 am

Jane Kidd is just looking for a code word to get race into the election. When this is over, the race baiters are going to be remembered and reminded, no matter who wins. Shirley frittered her credibility away on a race baiting ad for Eaves and will continue to pay a price for her choice. Who will record the “get out the race vote” ad on election day this year?


October 29th, 2009
12:25 pm

Independent Politico – maybe her “inability” to remember was just her way of saying its none of your business. Even our elected officials have the right to keep their vote private. Perhaps she didn’t vote party line – oh, heaven forbid.

You are obviously for Kassim, so say something positive about your candidate, or just shut up!


October 29th, 2009
1:21 pm

I do not care what party you belong to. Anything and anybody has to do better and be better than what we have now, which is politics as usual. We need to get out of this rut the city is in. I do not care what party does it!! However, I do care what person does it. And I prefer Lisa Borders.

Shirley Q. Liquor

October 29th, 2009
2:15 pm

Hey y’all, how you durrin? This here is Shirley Q. Liquor and I wanted to come on here to let you know who I am endorsing for Mayor. I will be posting my endorsement on Monday as I am still awaiting the results for the highest bidder.

Now don’t forget to vote early and vote often on Tuesday. And before I go, I want to leave a big ole southside shout out to all my girlfriends at the ACORN office!


October 29th, 2009
3:00 pm

You can deflect a boxers-or-briefs question, but people will be bound to think of a negative.

Doug Willix

October 29th, 2009
3:21 pm

I’ll bet every perp those women were talking about was black.

Doug Willix

October 29th, 2009
3:33 pm

Shirly Q, I have a question: How do I go about voting often?

Doug Willix

October 29th, 2009
4:03 pm

I’m doing my best to figure out what Mary Norwood having never given birth to a baby has to do with her being qualified to be mayor.

Having a baby is one accomplishment that doesn’t require any brains.

Shirley Q. Liquor

October 29th, 2009
6:53 pm

Doug Willix – get in touch with ACORN. They can help you vote as many times as you want.


October 29th, 2009
7:04 pm

This is total BS. I can’t believe the media isn’t all over this.

Dr Lowery states, “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with discussing black candidates for mayor,” Lowery said. “We’d be silly not to discuss the issue. It’s a reality. I think the most qualified candidates in this race are black.”

If George Bush or Sonny Perdue said, “I dont think there’s anything wrong with discussing white candidates for mayor”, we’d have Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Kayne West (what a retard) and any other black irrelevant political hack shouting racism in front of news cameras!

Shame on Dr Lowery!!!!! You owe this city an apology!!!


October 29th, 2009
8:06 pm

Will Jones - Atlanta Jeffersonian Exegesis

October 30th, 2009
7:14 am

“Having a baby is one accomplishment that doesn’t require any brains.”

Having a child is a miracle from G-d. Raising one well requires G-d’s grace.

Atlantans know G-d (per “Annuit Coeptis” of the American Creed) must be in charge of Atlanta just as Thomas Paine spurred the Revolution by informing our ancestors “The king of America reigns in Heaven above.”

Where is G-d in Mary Norwood’s life? She won’t say where or if she shares a worship discipline.

Clearly she is cursed, as her line is cut-off, and she’s a liar. Who disputes that “G-d hates a liar?”

Unless you are simply “outside” of G-d, explain your support for her “election.”

If Atlanta gets on, or stays on, the “right side of G-d,” all good will come to us, I believe.


October 30th, 2009
1:24 pm

I don’t know why the Democratic party is against Norwood. This is a mystery. What does she have to do? Stand up and say something stupid? I vote Dem most the time but I’m usually open to the debate. Blind loyalty is not something to be proud of. Ask any Republican.

[...] Atlanta mayoral race, which is non-partisan. Blog For Democracy first broached the topic. Galloway offered some insight. Peach Pundit commenters debated it all day. Andre Walker, who sits on a party [...]


October 31st, 2009
10:56 am

I’m a Democrat who is fed up with the racial politics, bickering and negative ads. I am willing to look at Mary Norwood’s record, stands on issues, and personal qualities objectively. Smearing or labeling her won’t automatically endear me to her opponents.


November 1st, 2009
1:19 pm

What’s funny about cities like Atlanta is it’s poor, sections are still poor, black sections. The blacks in Atlanta keep electing liberal Democrats and guess what the outcome is? They’re still poor. The poor parts of town continue to crumble and they keep electing the same people that keep using them for votes. And in return, do nothing but pay lip service and keep them poor. I hope that someday blacks will realize that the Democrat party is using them and taking them for granted. Always have. Why does the Democrat party take the black vote for granted? Because they know it’s a lock. At least make them earn it. They’ve done nothing for you.

[...] preposterous is it to to assert that Norwood is a republican when she is not. It’s almost as if the mere mention of the word [...]

Ten Races To Watch

November 2nd, 2009
3:16 pm

[...] although a candidate needs to receive a majority of the vote to avoid a December run-off.  The recent entry of the state Democratic party into the race in support of Borders and Reed because of [...]