Purpose – We examine electoral politics in the City of Atlanta, GA, and shed light on the prospect that in 2009 Atlanta elected its “last Black mayor.” We consider how African American tensions around class and social identity may demobilize key constituents of the Black electoral coalition while an increasing Black out-migration and White in-migration had changed the city’s racial balance of electoral power. Recognizing the margin of victory in the 2009 mayoral election between Kasim Reed (an African American) and Mary Norwood (a White challenger) was small (714 votes), we examine how electoral and demographic characteristics explain this result.Methodology – We utilize (1) the 2009 State of Georgia Board of Elections voter demographic file; (2) 2010 Census data (ACS 5 year estimates), and 2009 Mayoral Election count data. We presented descriptive statistics, comparing community level factors and voter characteristics.Research implications – The limitations of this work is that it is exploratory and thus we do not statistically isolate the effects of class and social identity.Findings – Our findings indicate that Reed and other Black elected officials will have to make concerted efforts if they hope to “retain” the Black poor as well as gay and lesbian citizens within a progressive electoral coalition.
Shaw, T.C., Ortiz, K., McCoy, J. and King, A. (2013), "Chapter 10 ‘The Last Black Mayor of Atlanta?", Perry, R.K. (Ed.) 21st Century Urban Race Politics: Representing Minorities as Universal Interests (Research in Race and Ethnic Relations, Vol. 18), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 201-230. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-7449(2013)0000018014Download as .RIS
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