The tight Atlanta mayor's race hasn't excited voters so far.
Former Mayor Kasim Reed and City Council President Felicia Moore are tied, according to polls. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has extensively covered the election, including front-page profiles of each candidate. A small but steady flow of TV ads has appeared, mainly heavy-handed attacks on Moore by Reid's campaign.
But voters don't appear enthusiastic about the nonpartisan election. Perhaps Buckhead residents involved in the outlandish campaign to form a new city have decided not to participate in local democracy. After the exhausting 2020 presidential election and the endless subsequent turmoil, voters are sick of campaigns.
That seems the case in the volatile Virginia governor's race, where Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe's flagging campaign against Republican Glenn Youngkin has panicked the Biden administration and national Democrats.
Reid and Moore are waging a heated battle, with Reid displaying supercilious hostility toward Moore in TV debates. City Councilman Andrew Dickens has run a strong campaign, without seriously challenging Reid or Moore. Attorney Sharon Gay, the leading white candidate, has not capitalized upon the Buckhead dissatisfaction with the city despite strong fund-raising.
Proving again the value of a strong local newspaper columnist, the AJC's Bill Torpy Thursday examined why former Mayor Shirley Franklin vehemently opposes Reid, her former campaign manager.
Franklin called Reid a dictatorial bully, comparing him to former Haitian ruler "Papa Doc" Duvalier. She also said that Reid is falsely taken credit for a city reserve fund surplus that she created.
Franklin is supporting Dickens instead of Moore, who seems to be drawing support from middle-class white voters who still care about the city's future. Dickens is an appealing candidate who doesn't have the citywide recognition enjoyed by Reid and Moore.
Torpy also asked former Mayor Andrew Young why he's supporting Reid. Young seems to endorse Reid's imperious image, decried by Franklin. Young sounded like a grumpy old man who who believes that Reid has a special hold on the office.
The Franklin-Reid dispute points to a split in the black political machine that has ruled Atlanta City Hall for years, beginning with Maynard Jackson. Moore, a veteran member of the Atlanta city council, made her reputation as an outsider independent of the mayor's office.
She's been the target of negative ads from Reid, who holds a sizable campaign funding lead. Reid has attempted to paint Moore as soft on crime, although she like him calls for the hiring of more police officers. Reid has sounded like a GOP candidate in his relentless anti-crime stance.
So far, the mayor's race has received little or no national attention. Neither The New York Times nor Wall Street Journal had so far looked at the race. Outgoing incumbent Keisha Lance Bottoms for a while was a favorite guest on MSNBC, but the network has ignored Moore and other candidates.
Torpy and AJC political columnist Patricia Murphy have kept their attention on the election. But Atlanta voters, like those in Virginia, remain apathetic.