Atlanta mayoral race: Councilman defeats ‘Octomom’

Image copyright PA Image caption Andre Dickens is one of three frontrunners in the campaign

A political veteran has won Atlanta’s mayoral runoff election after an extremely close race.

Councilman Andre Dickens, 62, beat Council President Felicia Moore with almost 50% of the vote in a narrow lead.

In the 2017 election for the office, Mr Dickens lost to Mayoral hopeful Keisha Lance Bottoms by just under 2,000 votes, the closest margin in the city’s history.

A write-in campaign was run for Ms Moore, who earned the nickname the “Octomom” during her childhood.

Ms Moore, 42, was considered an underdog in the runoff because many voters were unhappy with the general campaign run by the other candidates.

However, she managed to obtain a lot of votes – more than a third of the electorate – after an ardent campaign.

‘Immaculate liberal’

Ms Moore, a married mother of six, was largely considered a spoiler and threatened Mr Dickens’ lead in the primary.

On Tuesday night, she conceded the race but said she had brought an “incredible level of interest” to the race and called it an honour to serve as Atlanta’s representative in Washington, D.C.

The tight nature of the runoff meant that early results were still being announced more than two hours after the polls closed.

‘I’m going to work hard’

Ms Moore celebrated her victory to a throng of cheering supporters in the Governor’s Mansion, just one mile south of the Georgia capitol, while standing under a banner that read: “I’m going to work hard.”

As the top vote-getter in the primary, Ms Moore had a legitimate shot at winning the race after spending the past 12 years as an Atlanta City Council member and rising to the level of council president.

But Ms Moore was embroiled in a scandal when it was reported she won a scholarship to the University of Georgia even though she was awarded a community scholarship as a youth.

She has since apologized for the incident and said it was not an indication of a pattern of behaviour but a mistake.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Democratic candidate Andre Dickens said he was humbled by the win

Mr Dickens appeared overjoyed at the polls in Atlanta, the gateway to the city and the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr, after an extremely tight race.

During the general election, Mr Dickens managed to finish first among the three leading candidates.

However, he only surpassed Ms Moore by a few hundred votes.

But the popular Councilman’s appeal never wavered on election day, with many residents casting votes for him.

‘I didn’t win by a million votes’

Mr Dickens urged people to come out in large numbers to vote to deliver a victory.

He also said that he did not win by a million votes.

“I hope that we can work together,” he told reporters, after tallying the votes and waiting for the final results.

When asked if he could now seek a run for mayor in 2021, he said he would let voters decide.

“I can’t imagine myself being able to go on a citywide campaign and get more than 1,500 votes because I’m him.”

Some are already speculating on who will be the next mayor of Atlanta.

In the meantime, he will be sworn in as mayor on 1 December.

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