Mary Norwood supporters lined the Peachtree Road sidewalks on election day Tuesday. Wearing blue T-shirts with white lettering and leaping up and down like high school cheerleaders, they looked like Buckhead matrons who had escaped yoga class or the book club for the day.
A city firetruck festooned with Norwood signs sped by. One prominent sign said "Firefighters for Mary."
The 65-year-old Norwood, who speaks in the syrupy tones of Northside money, has generated enthusiasm among affluent communities tired of black control of city hall and reports of payoffs and insider dealing.
Keisha Lance Bottoms, Norwood's black opponent, has painted Norwood as a closet Republican and found surprising support from the national Democratic Party for what has always been a nonpartisan election.
After losing the Jon Ossoff congressional election, the national Democrats have sent stars Corey Booker and Kamala Harris to campaign for Bottoms, who has been abandoned by several black political leaders feuding with her key backer, outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed.
Both candidates have raised millions. A federal investigation into City Hall corruption has done nothing to stem the flow of money from influential Atlanta businesses and political heavyweights.
While Norwood has claimed that she'll represent the entire city, the election shows that black-white divisions and northside-southside conflict remain the main driver in city politics.