Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed wanted his old job back but things didn’t quite go as planned. Reed, who ran Atlanta for two terms between 2010 and 2018, missed the cut for inclusion in a runoff election, coming in third in the Nov. 2 general election behind current City Council President Felicia Moore and councilman Andre Dickens. And then things went left:
More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“Reed’s allies infuriated some in Atlanta’s political circles by spreading an erroneous radio report that alleged a new batch of Fulton County ballots showed Dickens had fallen behind Reed. The report was retracted, and Fulton County officials took to Twitter to note that “no additional votes were added” Wednesday. Still, Reed’s allies pushed the false narrative about newly-found votes – and the former mayor amplified it.”
The report in question came from WSB radio, a 34-second audio clip that was originally broadcast at about 3 p.m. the day after the election.
Stay with me here. Under Georgia law, if no candidate in a general election receives 51 or more percent of the vote, the top two vote getters advance to a runoff. I know this because this reporter formerly worked in the Atlanta mayor’s office. Moore ended election night clearly in first place but short of the needed majority to avoid a runoff. Dickens led Reed by just over 600 votes for second place, with 100 percent of precincts reporting. That left Reed on the outside looking in.
It was a big fall for Reed, who for almost a decade was the most powerful politician in a city considered the cradle of American Blackness. The former mayor entered the race with lots of support from Atlanta celebrities and entrepreneurs, but it looks like circulating the fake news didn’t sit too well with at least some of his supporters.
From the AJC:
“The messaging caused a mess behind the scenes. Senior Democratic officials hopped on conference calls and text chains to try to deduce whether the claims were true.
One former aide pronounced the misinformation an embarrassment to Reed and called on the former mayor to condemn it; another said it was ‘downright Trumpian.’”
By Thursday morning, though, Reed threw deuces to his re-election hopes, as it was clear that no new votes were coming from either Fulton County, where most of Atlanta sits, or adjacent DeKalb, which contains a small sliver of Georgia’s capital city. Voters will choose either Moore or Dickens as Atlanta’s next mayor in a Nov. 30 runoff. Meanwhile, some of Reed’s supporters have already begun attacking Moore’s runoff bid on social media.