ATLANTA — City council member Andre Dickens won a runoff election Tuesday to become Atlanta’s next mayor, which has propelled him to move ahead of the council’s current president, Felicia Moore, after finishing second in November.
Dickens won a campaign of concern over rising violent crime in the city, arguing that he would be more effective than Moore, who had often been the sometimes lone critic of previous mayors in his 20 years on the city council. Moore was the leading candidate by a wide margin. First round of voting on November 2 Out of 14 candidates in a non-partisan race.
Incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms did not seek a second term,
Dickens, 47, an Atlanta native and engineer by training, joined the council in 2013. He argued that his extensive experience would allow him to address crime and other issues in the city, including improving affordable housing and opportunities for poor residents. Other issues in the race included strengthening struggling city services and preventing the alienation of the wealthy Buckhead neighborhood.
Dickens went on to finish second on November 2, leaving the pack behind and ending the comeback effort of two-time former mayor Kasim Reid, who finished third. Snowballing support continued into the runoff, with the support of Bottoms, U.S. Representative and Democratic Party of Georgia President Nikema Williams, Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis and Sharon Gay, an attorney who finished fourth in the November 2 vote.
Like many cities across the country, Atlanta is also dealing with a rise in homicides. Data from Atlanta Police shows that as of November 7, there was a 10% increase in homicides compared to the same period last year and a 59% increase compared to 2019. many of those murders attracted wide attention,
Dickens has vowed to increase the number of police officers, arrest gang leaders, and implement community policing. He says he can keep current police chief Rodney Bryant, who retired in 2020 after retirement former chief stepped down Following the fatal police shooting of a black man that led to unrest.
They aim to increase affordable housing, improve infrastructure, and ensure current residents qualify for higher-paying jobs.
Moore touts his record for appealing to change-hungry voters and positioning himself as the man who brought accountability and transparency to City Hall. But Dickens portrayed Moore as a negative person and someone who has been unable to work with others.
Some of Moore’s opponents attack him as a favorite of white voters, a consistent tactic in a city where white and black voters are often divided by income and geography. Moore and Dickens are both black.
Dickens currently works for TechBridge, a non-profit organization that seeks to use technology to help other charitable groups. Dickens also established a program to train people for technology work, trying to broaden access to high-paying jobs in Atlanta. He previously ran a family-owned furniture store chain that collapsed in bankruptcy a decade earlier, something that Dickens blamed on the effects of the Great Recession.