In Buckhead's predominantly white neighborhoods, the Atlanta mayor's election comes down to a duel between city councilwoman Mary Norwood and businessman Peter Aman.
Yard signs that have recently popped out in northside neighborhoods indicate an even split between Aman and Norwood, who lost to incumbent two-term Mayor Kasim Reed by just over 700 voters in 2009, when he first won the post.
Both Norwood and Aman are perceived as particularly strong candidates with the appeal to become the city's first white mayor in decades. Yet the fierce battle between the two could result in neither making a runoff.
Other mayoral candidates signs are absent in Buckhead, but the race is percolating elsewhere. Former city councilwoman and gay activist Cathy Woolard, an early Beltline supporter, will draw white votes in more liberal intown areas such as Midtown and Virginia-HIghland. City Councilman Ceasar Mitchell and State Sen. Vincent Fort are favored in heavily black neighborhoods, which have held the power for since the 1960s.
The election will draw national attention, although the Atlanta mayor holds relatively little power throughout the metro area thanks to regional fragmentation. Ruling over the entity with the Atlanta brand-name, the mayor does emerge as a regional spokesman for national media, as happened with Reed several years ago when a relatively small amount of snow paralyzed roads for hours, most of them outside the city.
The Atlanta mayor's race will heighten the summer and fall with engaging political theater, especially Norwood and Aman's battle to emerge as the leading white candidate.