Previewing Atlanta’s Nov. 30 runoff elections

Welcome to the Tuesday, November 16, Brew. 

By: Doug Kronaizl

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Previewing Atlanta’s Nov. 30 runoff elections
  2. Here’s what happened in Louisiana’s elections on Saturday
  3. Two at-large city council districts holding elections in Hialeah, Fla., today

Previewing Atlanta’s Nov. 30 runoff elections

You might recall a set of runoffs in Georgia earlier this year that decided the party control of the U.S. Senate. Today, we are two weeks away from another round of general election runoffs in Georgia with voters in Atlanta deciding several city council elections and choosing their next mayor on Nov. 30. These races advanced to runoffs after no candidates received more than 50% of the vote in the Nov. 2 general elections.

All 16 council positions, including city council president, were on the Nov. 2 ballot. Nine of those races were decided outright on Nov. 2 with seven incumbents and two newcomers winning. In the Nov. 30 runoffs, incumbent city council members are running in three while the remaining four races will elect newcomers. 

In two of those open runoff races—At-large Post 3 and District 1—both candidates completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Below are some excerpts from those surveys. To see more, click on the candidate’s name.

Atlanta City Council, At-large Post 3

Jacqueline Labat and former state Rep. Keisha Sean Waites advanced to a runoff after defeating three other candidates on Nov. 2. Waites finished first with 30% of the vote. Labat was second with 26%. 

Question: What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?

  • Labat: “[E]lected leaders must respond in a timely manner to the needs of their constituents and there will be times when ‘fairness’ and ‘minority views’ may outweigh issues of effectiveness of efficiency.”
  • Waites: “Having existing relationships and legislative experience will be critical to tackling many of the issues we are facing such as: Corruption creating a lack of public trust, increasing violent crime and traffic congestion.”

Atlanta City Council, District 1

Nathan Clubb and Jason Winston advanced to a runoff after defeating four other candidates on Nov. 2. Winston finished first with 29% of the vote. Clubb was second with 28%. 

Question: How would you address crime and public safety? Do you have a different stance than current city council policy?

  • Clubb: “We need to ensure we have the level of staffing necessary and policies in place for true community policing to provide presence and rebuild trust with communities.”
  • Winston: “I will look to pragmatic evaluation of our law enforcement policies, addressing biases and disparities in policing while moving resources to the programs that need them most.”

In the mayoral race, Atlantans will elect a newcomer for the second election cycle in a row. On May 6, 2021, Incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) announced she would not seek re-election, making her the first Atlanta mayor since World War II not to run for a second term.

City councilman Andre Dickens and city council president Felicia Moore advanced to the general runoff election for mayor after defeating 14 other candidates, including former Mayor Kasim Reed, on Nov. 2. Moore received 41% of the vote followed by Dickens with 23%. While the race is officially nonpartisan, both candidates are Democrats.

Both Dickens and Moore have emphasized their own plans regarding crime and public safety in the city. Dickens’ SAFE Streets Atlanta Plan focuses, in part, on community policing, providing racial sensitivity training, and clearing up pandemic-related court backlogs. Dickens also highlighted his experience as chair of the city’s Public Safety Committee and supporting officer pay raises in 2020. Moore said her plan focused on five areas—the 5 C’s—”Community, Cops, Courts, Code Enforcement, and Children.” Moore emphasized her role in the passage of city policies including marijuana decriminalization and the elimination of cash bail.

Both candidates want to increase the number of police officers in the city and provide training on topics including de-escalation techniques. Dickens said he would hire 250 officers during his first year. Moore said she would offer incentives to retired officers to return to work for 1-2 years while recruiting new officers to fill open positions.

Dickens and Moore have both raised more than $1 million. As of Sept. 30, Dickens had spent $841,484 leaving him with $199,072 on hand. Moore had spent $656,733 with $453,565 on hand.

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Here’s what happened in Louisiana’s elections on Saturday

Louisiana voters turned out for the state’s fall elections last Saturday following a one-month delay. On Sept. 9, 2021, Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) postponed the state’s fall elections due to damage from Hurricane Ida.

Here are some highlights from the races we followed

  • Statewide, voters decided four constitutional amendments, approving one and rejecting three. The state constitution limits ballot measures in odd-numbered years to matters concerning the state’s budget, government finance, and taxation.
  • Voters approved Amendment 2, which decreased the maximum allowable individual income tax rate from 6% to 4.75% for tax years beginning in 2022. The Legislature set the tax bracket rates beginning in 2022 at 1.75% on the first $12,500 of net income, 3.50% on the net income up to $50,000, and 4.25% on net income above $50,000.
  • Voters rejected Amendments 1, 3, and 4. Amendment 1 would have created a commission to streamline the electronic filing of all sales and use taxes. Amendment 3 would have allowed levee districts created after 2006 to assess an annual property tax of up to $5 per $1,000 of assessed value without voter approval. Amendment 4 would have increased the amount of funds that could be redirected to some other purpose than what was originally provided for by law from 5% to 10%.
  • There were also several candidate elections across the state. Louisiana used the majority-vote system where all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, ran in the same primary. A candidate could win the election outright by receiving more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate crossed that mark, the top two vote recipients advanced to a Dec. 11 general election.
  • In New Orleans, incumbent Mayor LaToya Cantrell (D) won re-election outright. Cantrell received 65% of the vote, defeating 13 other candidates. The city also held elections for a majority of its city council districts. Elections in three districts were decided outright on Nov. 13 with the remaining four districts advancing to general elections on Dec. 11.

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Two at-large city council districts holding elections in Hialeah, Fla., today

Voters will decide two of the seven districts of the Hialeah, Fla., City Council today. Nonpartisan primary elections were held for these districts on Nov. 2, but since no single candidate received more than 50% of the vote, the top two vote recipients in each race advanced to a Nov. 16 general election. 

Bryan Calvo and Angelica Pacheco are competing in the council’s at-large Group VI district. The two advanced to a general election after defeating three other candidates on Nov. 2, with Pacheco receiving 30% of the vote and Calvo 28%. 

Luis Rodriguez and Maylin Villalonga are competing in the at-large Group VII district. They advanced to the general election after defeating four other candidates on Nov. 2, with Rodriguez receiving 42% of the vote and Villalonga 20%.

The winners in both districts will be newcomers to the council since the incumbents in those districts did not seek re-election.

The general election for the council’s Group V seat was canceled after incumbent Carl Zogby won the Nov. 2 primary election outright with 57% of the vote over two other candidates. Zogby was first elected in 2017.

Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in Florida and the 88th most populous city in the U.S.

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