Various number-crunchers tell us that the one place that treated the TSPLOST favorable in metro area was the city of Atlanta itself, which approved the transportation sales tax by a margin of 58 to 42 percent.
The city results are good news for Mayor Kasim Reed, who became the loudest voice for the referendum in the final weeks of the campaign – and who stands for re-election next year.
Below is a file from my AJC colleague Jeremiah McWilliams, on Reed and the final moments of last night’s doings:
Speaking at a subdued press conference late Tuesday night at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, Reed was stoic in defeat.
“I’m here to stick out my chin and take the loss, to accept the loss … but to ask in a respectful way that we really do sit down and not wait six or eight or 10 years but work on it right away. Because the future belongs to those who figure it out. … We’re going to have to have politics of cooperation if we’re going to meet these big challenges.”
The first-term mayor embraced Metro Atlanta Chamber president Sam Williams, shook a few hands and walked off stage.
Speaking to reporters moments later, Reed warned against “backseat quarterbacking.” He said early vote totals hurt the campaign, as did the July 31 date and the hemorrhaging of Republican votes in the closing weeks of the campaign.
“Everyone deserves a fair share of responsibility,” Reed said. “We caught a couple of tough breaks…This is not really a time to blame anyone.”
“I think we have to get everyone at the table. I don’t think failing to move forward is an option. Most regions require more than one bite at the apple to achieve this (referendum-based traffic solutions). I wanted us to achieve it on the first try.”
Reed tipped his cap at the opposition.
“I’ve been in this business a long time,” he said. “I respect elections, and I respect results….I congratulate the folks who prevailed. I respect them.”
Reed said another traffic-oriented referendum “has to happen in the future,” calling that approach “the only method to try to fund the traffic improvements you need.”
“(But) I don’t know if it will be tried by me and my colleagues,” he said.
Reed said he believed the campaign failed for deeper reasons than a project list that drew many critics.
“We lost the ‘confidence in government’ argument,” he said. “And the argument around whether our projects are transformational.”
Reed said he felt the need to jump into the campaign in a dramatic way two weeks ago after internal polls showed support slipping. After the business community helped raise $8 million for the pro-tax campaign, backing away “would have sent a terrible national message” about the seriousness of Atlanta’s leadership, he said.
“People took real risks in the process,” Reed said, citing Gov. Nathan Deal and others.
“I did everything I can,” Reed told a television reporter.
It was shortly before midnight. The party had already broken up.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider