Runoff looks likely for Atlanta mayor

ATLANTA --- Augusta native Mary Bush Norwood's bid to become Atlanta's first white mayor since 1973 appeared headed for a runoff Tuesday night.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting, Mrs. Norwood led with 46 percent of the vote. She needed more than 50 percent to avoid a runoff in December. Running second was Kasim Reed with 37 percent.

Mrs. Norwood, who left Augusta for college and now lives in Atlanta's posh Buckhead neighborhood, has been on the Atlanta City Council for seven years but ran as an outsider who would make the city safer and more accountable. She began campaigning as early as last summer -- some say even earlier -- gathering support from white and black communities.

Her closest opponents called her a Republican because of her connections in Buckhead, the GOP's only foothold in the state's largest city. Though the mayoral election is nonpartisan, Democrats have captured the majority of Atlanta votes consistently in recent decades.

Mrs. Norwood said she had voted in Republican primaries because there were few contested Democratic nominations in her precinct, but she has voted for more Democrats than Republicans in general elections.

Mrs. Norwood was born in 1952 in Augusta to Bill Bush, a brick manufacturer, and Frenchie Battey Bush, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution . She is the oldest of six children.

She spent two years at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, then transferred to Emory University, where she graduated in 1974 with a degree in history.

She has been married for 25 years to Felton Norwood, a pediatrician for Piedmont Hospital.

Reach Walter Jones at walter.jones@morris.com.

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