Franklin, who made history as the first female mayor in the city’s history, is betting that her name and legacy as a political pioneer will carry enough weight to propel Norwood to victory in the city’s runoff for the top political office.
Not that Bottoms is hurting in the endorsement department. Bottoms has gotten powerful official backing from former mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young, current Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, in addition to several state Democrats.
As an African American, Franklin’s support of Norwood, who is White, has not come without controversy, however. Her opponent, Bottoms, is a Black female, marking the first time that two women are in a runoff for mayor in Atlanta.
“For me, race was not the first issue,” Franklin told the media during a press conference at Atlanta City Hall, according to WABE. “Character, transparency and integrity are the first issues for me.”
Franklin admits that some in her inner circle have questioned her decision.
“Some of my friends who’ve known me for a long time say this might hurt my legacy because I’m supporting a White woman over a Black woman, but I think that’s yesterday’s news,” Franklin said. “We live in a diverse society. We live in a society where people are able to represent us from all kinds of backgrounds.”
Former mayoral candidate Peter Aman, who finished fourth, also endorsed Norwood Monday. Early voting has already begun and the runoff election is Tuesday, Dec. 5.
Franklin said Norwood has the integrity that the city needs. The current administration, under Mayor Reed, has been under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for illicit activities. Two former city vendors have pleaded guilty to paying money to procure city contracts, and the city’s former chief procurement officer has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
The FBI investigation is still ongoing, multiple outlets report. Franklin said we need “to get the FBI out of City Hall.”
“I’m concerned about the investigation, I’m concerned about the convictions. I believe Mary is frontal and aggressive on that issue,” Franklin added.