When the issue of race poked its inevitable nose into the Atlanta mayoral contest, Lisa Borders — without fanfare or elaboration — declared herself a woman in the middle.
“I have never had the luxury of being black or white. I have always been part of the entire city,” she said in late August.
It was a remarkable admission, little remarked upon, for the woman once presumed to be the natural successor to Shirley Franklin — the perfect fit for a city whose demographics have begun to resemble the chocolate-and-vanilla swirl of Jello pudding.
But elections are often a celebration of polarities. People in the middle are the people left out. And as Tuesday’s returns ground to a finish, Borders became one of the first certainties of the evening.
The Rev. Joe Lowery, the Civil Rights octogenarian, had wondered a few weeks ago whether eight years of Franklin had feminized the office of mayor beyond the claim