ATL mayoral candidate Mary Norwood says her African-American supporters ‘have been threatened’

A contentious exchange on race relations marked the beginning of Saturday evening’s debate between Atlanta mayoral candidates Kasim Reed and Mary Norwood on WAGA-TV.

Fox 5’s Diedra Dukes opened up the topic by asking Reed whether the mayoral campaign had divided the city by black and white.

Reed responded optimistically:

“I think that the city has made outstanding progress. I think that we both received support both from white citizens and from black citizens. My support in the white community has actually been growing significantly.

“Elections are tough. But I think now that the campaign is down to two individuals, you will see more support that is cross-racial. And I think that is important. Both Ms. Norwood and myself are working toward the best Atlanta – the Atlanta that Dr. [Martin Luther] King talked about.

“I think that we have both conducted ourselves in a way that makes the citizens of Atlanta proud. And as long as we don’t get bogged down in trying to win an election based upon dividing the city, I think that Atlanta will come out just fine.”

But Norwood, a member of the City Council, contradicted the former state senator in this follow-up exchange with Morse Diggs:

Diggs: Some of your black supporters say that they have been harassed and intimidated because they are supporting a white candidate. There’s still an edge out there. What does that say about the level of race relations where we’re at right now? Are we still a divided city?

Norwood: Morse, I have been very saddened, that the people that have been supporting me, who are so courageous, have been threatened. The people who have gone up to their doors, and knocked on their doors, and have said, “What are you doing supporting this woman?”

And it is coming from other camps. It has been going on for a while. We have had our yard signs – just every day – taken away. So we have seen evidence of just not great, not appropriate behavior.

I think the citizens of the mayors of Atlanta deserve to have the mayor they want, whoever that mayor is. And so I’m very hopeful that the harassment will cease.

Diggs: What are you telling those supporters who have been harassed?

Norwood: That I will do everything in my power to protect them. That I have alerted the police department, just to make sure that they are riding through neighborhoods where Mary Norwood signs are, because there are people who have been very concerned.

Reed was given an opportunity to respond:

“If she’s talking about old campaigns, prior to the two of us, then I don’t have a problem with her comment. But if she’s talking about ‘other camps’ now, the only camp is me, and I wholeheartedly reject it. If Ms. Norwood wants to make an accusation, she should stop [indistinct]. Make the accusation.

“My campaign has 6,000 addresses with yard signs in them. Yard signs for Kasim Reed have been removed citywide as well. So we can get into this game. Both of us have supporters who have been who are supporting us very aggressively and robustly.

“But the notion that my campaign is engaged in intimidation is something that I reject. And it’s time for us to put up, or let’s stop slinging mud.”

The back-and-forth on the topic ended there.

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290 comments Add your comment

Mary Norwood lied

November 21st, 2009
8:16 pm

I am african american who supporting Norwood now I am switching because I was never threaten
Norwood lied now she lost my vote

Sharon Bell

November 21st, 2009
8:17 pm

Norwood said other camp threat her supporter I am black i was never threat she lost my vote also

Kids grow up

November 21st, 2009
8:18 pm

Enter your comments here

Kids grow up

November 21st, 2009
8:21 pm

Reed and Norwood need to grow up this sad to see 2 outstanding political figure argue over a sign was taken from there supporter yard. Norwood sound awful on the debate she accuse the other camp what other camp I thought she did a dad job tonight.

Please someone tell me what really going on in this mayor race

Kids grow up

November 21st, 2009
8:22 pm

correction * I mean bad job*

AtlantasFuture

November 21st, 2009
8:23 pm

Great debate by both candidates. Mary has my vote. She is ready to bring real services (and I’d suggest better streets) to Atlantans and she knows every part of this city.

Kasim denied that he was involved in Shirley Franklin’s operating monkey business. We were in a DEFICIT for several years and she was telling Atlantans that we were in a surplus! His egotistical attitude was a turn off. What about his brother still giving out contracts from the mayor’s office- conflict of interest there too. Ugh, no go Reed.

I haven't been threatened

November 21st, 2009
8:27 pm

I am a Mary supporter, however I haven’t been threatened at all and I live in SW Atlanta. Although I’m still casting my vote for her, these allegations concern me.

Go Kasim!

November 21st, 2009
8:30 pm

When did this debate for Mayor come down to yard signs? This is so dumb! Also, Kasim’s brother works for the City of Atlanta and has been for several years, even before Shirley’s tenure.

African American

November 21st, 2009
8:32 pm

Norwood what other camp you were referring to I dont believe one thing you saying now I was going to vote for you now you lying on tv.

what other camp Norwood

November 21st, 2009
8:37 pm

I want to know what other camp she is talking about stealing black norwood supporters signs

I think this a gimmick to get attention on tv

Jason

November 21st, 2009
8:38 pm

So Reed take the high road and Mary tells some more things that can’t be substantiated. In other words, not a thing has changed from earlier in the campaign. If Mary is going to take the low road and just do anything it takes to gain power regardless of ethics or morals, she should at least be smart about it. She is like a member of the mafia who failed out of the first day of training camp but carries on anyway.

Will this time next week she claim that space aliens roughed up her staffers and kidnapped all her voters?

to all reed groupies/supporters/ response

November 21st, 2009
8:40 pm

Mary is not lying!

Teela

November 21st, 2009
8:40 pm

Well, the harassment I have received on this blog by the blogger by many names…I call him “Mess Up” is minor, but troubling.

It’s the mark of a thug: one who respects nothing of diversity. I can well believe that some Black Norwood supporters were harassed.

His lies and babble were his attempts to shut me up, to silence my opinions…but they didn’t work. Hah!

And they won’t work out there in the neighborhoods. Mary was right to try to protect her supporters. It’s much more than missing signs.

December 1st will decide who will be Mayor of Atlanta. Unfortunately, there is rancor on both sides.

We need to get back to the serious business of repairing this city after the years of corruption and mismanagement coming from City Hall.

Sharon

November 21st, 2009
8:41 pm

so true what other camp,

Norwood I want to know myself what other camp is taken your black supporter signs

Wake up this lady is a big liar she is only trying to turn blacks people against there own people

buzz

November 21st, 2009
8:41 pm

i quit reading at “an contentious”

does anyone edit this stuff?

KarenG

November 21st, 2009
8:42 pm

By the looks of these comments, SOMEONE needs to work with the governor to improve education here in the city. The grammar of the respondents is disgusting. Oh and I love Reed’s ads! Especially about the critical shortage of parks! What a laugh.

RIF

November 21st, 2009
8:43 pm

To the barely literate people (or, more accurately, person) who say they supported Norwood and have not been threatened, so they are changing their vote — try understanding what is written. She did not say every black person who supported her was threatened. It is sad just reading the first few posts of people who can barely read and write.

Education101

November 21st, 2009
8:48 pm

Aint none threaten me and I was for whity til now. I be vote for brutha man now. she done be line.

ksiujgth

November 21st, 2009
8:50 pm

we were voting for reed but now we are switching to norwood because he sounds like an idiot in this debate

CityofAtlantaSux

November 21st, 2009
8:51 pm

Man I’m glad I live in the ‘burbs. What a bunch of illiterate bafoons!

WEESeeMaryNorwood

November 21st, 2009
8:51 pm

Mary claims to no be a republican, but her playing on “fears” is a standard republican tactic. Don’t fall for it my people. WEESeeMary… WEESeeYou.com

ksiujgth

November 21st, 2009
8:52 pm

sharon – you sound like a product of the atl public school system. maybe reed can get you back into grade school english classes

Chris

November 21st, 2009
8:55 pm

Does it really matter who our mayor is?!?!? As long as those backwards thinking idiots in the gold dome are there then nothing will change.

lisa

November 21st, 2009
8:56 pm

If Mary got something on Mayor Franklin she need to go ahead and show the evidence . I am sick and tired of Mary Norwood accusing Mayor Franklin of mishandeling the city finances . Her Enron accusations, and false attacks need to stop !!!!! in the final analysis Norwood was in council for the past 8 years and she demonstrated that she cannot read nor understand a financial statement , she also demonstrated tonight with Reed that she cannot interprete legislation

fildawg

November 21st, 2009
8:57 pm

I have witnessed intimidation and physical threats toward Norwood supporters. Just more of the same from the Reed campaign…. GO MARY GO!!! Can’t wait for an honest mayor!

I'm Afro-American and I'm voting Mary Norwood.

November 21st, 2009
9:00 pm

Mary you have our vote. We still believe in you!

Tiredofit

November 21st, 2009
9:02 pm

If OJ ran for office here in Atlanta, the blacks would vote for him. What do you expect?

From a afro-american. Just cauce you disagree with Teela doesn't make her racist.

November 21st, 2009
9:03 pm

Go Mary! My family is voting for you!

Education101

November 21st, 2009
9:03 pm

Fake Blogg – You must be one of the people trying to make (or “maken”) black people sound illiterate.

Teela

November 21st, 2009
9:03 pm

Hold on…..most of the illiterati are the work of one ‘man’. (who knows, he/she??…)

I can’t believe that there are that many stupid and uneducated people with computers…but I could be wrong. Perhaps I am. Perhaps pure hatred fuels this blog.

Mess Up is really going batty tonight.

“Norwood white supporter are on here maken black people sound illirate.
Black people wake up it time for action against Norwood racist supporters are maken fake blog about black people who are supporting Reed.”

That sounds like my pal Mess Up. He’s used the ‘word’ maken and voten in many posts.

The mark of the serpent.

Tim James

November 21st, 2009
9:04 pm

Norwood is the best.

I wouldn't vote for OJ! You're an ignorant person Tiredofit

November 21st, 2009
9:04 pm

Try educating yourself more before speaking on a blog.. Go Mary! Go!

Education101

November 21st, 2009
9:05 pm

Regardless of what anyone has or does not have on Franklin, her many years can be summarized as follows – nothing. Nada.

Atlanta voter

November 21st, 2009
9:06 pm

I can certainly believe that Norwood supporters in black neighborhoods are being threatened. In fact I had wondered if some black supporters were at risk. I don’t think Kasim Reed has anything to do with it or can control it. I’m NOT voting for him but don’t think he’s a thug. I think it’s some of his supporters or anyone invested in the status quo at City Hall. I hope the people being harassed are reporting EVERYTHING that is happening and getting photos and videos of the harassers. It’s the only way they can be stopped. They are basically insecure tough guys/gals so call their bluff!!

I wouldn't vote for OJ! You're an ignorant person Tiredofit

November 21st, 2009
9:07 pm

I’m so glad Franklin is leaving! Good bye! You need help packing? To much big govt. Give them a diet Mary and get some more Policeman and Fireman! Go Mary! Go!

Teela

November 21st, 2009
9:08 pm

@From a afro-american. Just cauce you disagree with Teela doesn’t make her racist.

THANK YOU!!!

Mess Up needs a brain transplant. LOL!

We all have a right and a duty to vote as we see fit. I have no interest in anything else, except hopefully, healing the divisions…..we are all Atlantans here….and what if we were attacked from some terrorists?

What would then be our priorities???

Peace to all, God Bless and Good Night!!

Atlanta Vote I live Peopletown/Grant Park

November 21st, 2009
9:09 pm

No one has threaten me. I’m voting for Mary Norwood! Wish I could vote for her twice!

African American Really???

November 21st, 2009
9:09 pm

Kasim’s camp logging in as “African American”. Funny. At least it is grammatically correct. Ha! Just a hint. Your supporters can spell. Thanks for portraying them as ignorant, it should help your support. Racism will continue to live on. Thanks again KASIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good nite Teela! You're welcome.

November 21st, 2009
9:10 pm

I’m the one that said that dear. Go Mary! Go!

LaDerrick

November 21st, 2009
9:11 pm

After dis Norwood lost my vote cuz i aint gonna vote fo no white woman who disrepects black mens.

dansfae

November 21st, 2009
9:13 pm

People divide themselves into all kinds of camps. These divisions are based on all kinds of ideologies and have nothing personal to do with the individual candidates. Voters have their own agendas.

Good nite all! Go out and be decent!.

November 21st, 2009
9:13 pm

It doesn’t hurt to be nice. Think before you speak!
Good nite!

I’m voting for Mary! Nevertheless, If Reed win I will support him.

Peace………..”I’m Out!”

intown

November 21st, 2009
9:15 pm

I’m white. I’m knowledgeable about the candidates. I’m voting for Reed for a 2nd time on Tuesday, Dec. 1st.

lashondrique

November 21st, 2009
9:15 pm

i vote for kasim wen he makes more recreachen cenner wen we ax him too

African American Voters Connection

November 21st, 2009
9:16 pm

I watched the debate, and as an African American I am not voting for Reed simply because he is an African American. He displays a sense of arrogance and parades his campaign with the support of entertainers and such. Reed’s style reminds me of a “puppet politician”. He does not seem sincere, and looks like a person who wants the title of Mayor rather than the job. I highly recommend all voters to consider Ms. Norwood, because Reed is trouble. He is one that cannot be trusted. He has no sense of humility or humbleness in him. REED IS A MISTAKE WAITING TO HAPPEN IF ELECTED.

BlackerThanYOU..

November 21st, 2009
9:17 pm

You Reed Groupies Are Acting Like
Those Douche Bag Republicans,The
“Good Ole Boy Black Network” Is Going
Down THANKS TO THAT DO NOTHING
MR. SHIRLEY FRANKLIN..
Don’t Hate The Player !

TheManMike

November 21st, 2009
9:18 pm

IloveATL

November 21st, 2009
9:19 pm

Very well said African American Voters Connection!

An Observer

November 21st, 2009
9:23 pm

Hey, “CityofAtlantaSux……
The word is buffoon, not bafoon……need I say more?

@KarenG

November 21st, 2009
9:23 pm

What’s so laughable about a mayoral candidate wanting to open our parks and rec centers back up? Maybe its funny to you that our youth had to experience 22 rec centers being shuttered due to te city’s economic crisis. Its not funny to me at all because the Bedford Pine (now known as Central Park) rec center provided me with a great outlet to play football under former Falcon, Jeff Stanciel. This was during the mid 90s when crack cocaine was ravaging Atlanta and cities across the country.
I could get off the school bus and go to the rec center and do homework, play pool and play organized team sports. Those programs saved the lives of hundreds of kids that I knew and probably thousands across the city. I had a place of refuge while my mom worked and couldn’t afford afterschool care me and my siblings.

Reed’s proposals are serious and as a black man, I don’t want the only alternative to be jail for the young men that are out there. Some of them truly want to do the right thing, all they need is a positive outlet.

You can make fun of this proposal all you want, but all Norwood has proposed is attacking repeat offenders and tossing more people in jail. Reed actually wants to solve crime and save a generation of young people from the streets. And it is for that and many other reasons why my wife and I went to vote early for him last week. Norwood just doesn’t get it. Being Atlanta’s mayor is a “tall” order and Norwood is just a little too “short”.

All this crap about her signs being taken is bologna and not even worth bringing up in a debate. Someone stole my signs too and I didn’t take it as intimidation, its politics.

I swear some white people have started to play the victim role since Palin ran with McCain and it has now spilled over to this mayoral election.

This election is not about race or gender, but competence and proven track records. Bottom line, Reed has one and I have yet to see Norwood’s. My wife and I supported Borders originally, but we were glad to vote for Reed last week.

I can’t wait for Dec. 2nd, when we can take this city forward. White, Black, Old, Young, Gay and Straight. That is the Atlanta I love!