Dickens is next Atlanta mayor as runoff election shakes up city government
By John Ruch
Andre Dickens will be the next mayor of Atlanta after trouncing Felicia Moore in a Nov. 30 runoff election that brought several other big changes to city government.
Doug Shipman defeated Natalyn Archibong for the City Council presidency, putting men — one Black and one white — into Atlanta’s top two elected offices. Longtime council incumbents Joyce Sheperd and Cleta Winslow were also swept out of office by reformist challengers.
Dickens, who currently serves as the Post 3 at-large City Council member, will face the immediate challenge of battling crime and attempting to defeat the Buckhead cityhood secession movement. His nearly 64 percent victory over Moore — the current council president — came in an increasingly bitter campaign with accusations of racism and attempts to tie Moore to conservative Buckhead politics. Contention aside, Dickens ran as a unifier with fresh takes on old ideas like the “Atlanta Way,” the insider decision-making process focused on smoothing over Black-and-white racial tensions. Among his endorsers was incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who did not run again.
Now that voters have made their choices, some may soon be surprised to end up represented by someone else. The City Council and Atlanta Board of Education districts soon must be redrawn based on new U.S. Census data.
The following is the new lineup of the council and the school board, who will take office in January, and the still-unofficial results in the runoff races.
New Atlanta City Council
President: Doug Shipman
Post 1 At-Large: Michael Julian Bond
Post 2 At-Large: Matt Westmoreland
Post 3 At-Large: Keisha Sean Waites
District 1: Jason Winston
District 2: Amir Farokhi
District 3: Byron Amos
District 4: Jason Dozier
District 5: Liliana Bakhtiari
District 6: Alex Wan
District 7: Howard Shook
District 8: Mary Norwood
District 9: Dustin Hillis
District 10: Andrea Boone
District 11: Marci Collier Overstreet
District 12: Antonio Lewis
New Atlanta Board of Education
District 1: Katie Howard
District 2: Aretta Baldon
District 3: Michelle Olympiadis
District 4: Jennifer McDonald
District 5: Erika Mitchell
District 6: Eshé Collins
District 7 At-Large: Tamara Jones
District 8 At-Large: Cynthia Briscoe Brown
District 9 At-Large: Jason Esteves
City Council President results
Shipman, the former CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, won with about 53.6 percent of the vote. He defeated Archibong, the current District 5 councilmember, with a somewhat Dickens-esque platform of new ideas on such issues as housing affordability.
City Council Post 3 At-Large results
Keisha Sean Waites, a former state representative, will replace Dickens in this citywide seat after winning with about 52.5 percent of the vote. She defeated Jacki Labat, a consultant who is married to Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat.
City Council District 1 results
Jason Winston, a marketing consultant, defeated Nathan Clubb with about 52.4 percent of the vote.
City Council District 3 results
Bryon Amos, who runs a security business, squeaked out a 50.75 percent win over Erika Estrada.
City Council District 4 results
Cleta Winslow’s 28-year run in holding this West End/Mechanicsville seat ended at the hands of Jason Dozier. He works at a nonprofit that connects military veterans and service members with jobs, and he said the district needs fresh leadership on such issues as displacement and housing affordability. He took over 62 percent of the runoff vote.
City Council District 5 results
Liliana Bakhtiari, a community activist who gained experience in the Occupy Atlanta movement a decade ago, easily won this seat over Mandy Mahoney with over 68 percent of the vote. This is the seat that Archibong is leaving as part of her unsuccessful council president run.
City Council District 12 results
In another reformer-vs.-longtime-incumbent showdown, Antonio Lewis defeated Joyce Sheperd with nearly 60 percent of the vote. Sheperd, who has held the South Atlanta seat for over 15 years, ran into controversy this year as a main proponent of the controversial public safety training center planned for the former Atlanta Prison Farm. Lewis, a communications official with the union AFSCME, was skeptical of that plan.
Board of Education District 2 results
Incumbent Aretta Baldon retained her seat against Keisha Carey with a razor-thin 50.59 percent of the vote, still enough to avoid a recount if the numbers are certified.
Board of Education District 7 At-Large results
Tamara Jones, an architect and urban planner who is also an Atlanta Public Schools parent, won nearly 67 percent of the vote in defeating Kanesha “KaCey” Venning.