Dickens easily defeats City Council President Felicia Moore for city’s top post
♦By Rich Shumate, ChickenFriedPolitics.com editor
ATLANTA (CFP) – Atlanta City Council member Andre Dickens has come from behind to to claim a landslide victory to be the next mayor of the Deep South’s commercial and financial capital.
Dickens, 47, a non-profit executive who has served two terms in a citywide council seat, erased a nearly 18-point deficit in the first round of voting to defeat City Council President Felicia Moore by a margin of 62% to 38% in the November 30 runoff.
He will take the helm of the city amid increasing concerns about a rise in violent crime and a campaign by residents of the wealthy Buckhead enclave to secede and form their own city.
Speaking to his supporters at an outdoor victory party, Dickens said Atlantans “voted for progress and a problem solver.”
“The people who made this victory possible — they will change Atlanta’s future,” he said. “There is no limit to Atlanta, and that’s what we’ve got to look forward to.”
Dickens had come from the back of the pack in a crowded field during the first round of voting to win a place in the runoff behind Moore, edging out former Mayor Kasim Reed.
During the runoff campaign, he snagged key endorsements from a who’s who of local political leaders — including incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams and Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis – and went after Moore as too negative to get along with other leaders in the city.
Moore, 60, a real estate broker and community activist, was a fixture in city politics, having served on the City Council for more than two decades and as its president for the past four.
Crime was the number one issue in the campaign, with the city’s homicide rate up nearly 57% in the past two years.
Both candidates had proposed getting more police officers on to the streets, but Moore rapped Dickens for supporting a measure that would have withheld a portion of the police budget until reforms were made.
She accused Dickens of supporting defunding the police, which he said was not the intention of the proposal.
A drive by residents in the mostly white, upscale Buckhead area to secede from the city – which could be devastating to the city’s tax base — is likely to be a key headache for Dickens as he take the city’s reins.
Bottoms — who built a national profile as mayor that landed her on Joe Biden’s vice presidential short list in 2020 — shocked the city’s political circles in May when she announced she would not seek a second term.
Her immediate predecessor, Reed, tried to launch a comeback but finished third behind Moore and Dickens in the first round of voting.
The mayor of Atlanta is a non-partisan position, but both Dickens and Moore are Democrats.