From the Miami Herald:
ATLANTA — When the final votes are counted, it’s likely the black political machine that integrated Atlanta’s City Hall – and kept it that way for four decades – will have pulled through one more time to deliver a fifth consecutive black mayor.
Unofficial results in this week’s mayoral runoff show voters elected former state Sen. Kasim Reed over white councilwoman Mary Norwood by a mere 715 votes, with a recount inevitable.
No matter what those final numbers say, the fissures in the machine were exposed, its future viability cast in doubt.
Atlanta’s black population has shrunk and its white population grown since its current mayor, Shirley Franklin, was elected in 2001. Its voting rolls are filled with newcomers unfamiliar with Atlanta’s habit of assigning its business interests to whites and its political interests to blacks. The reality is sinking in that black political power here is not as strong or united as it once was, and is destined to weaken as more whites seek office and more blacks shed their civil rights-era sentimentality.