Mary Norwood

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Mary Norwood
Mary Norwood.jpg
Member of the Atlanta City Council
Post 2, At-large
In office
January 2014 – January 2018
Preceded by Aaron Watson
Succeeded by Matt Westmoreland
In office
January, 2002 – January 2010
Personal details
Born 1952 (age 65–66)[1]
Augusta, Georgia, U.S.
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Felton Norwood
Education Sweet Briar College
Emory University (BA)
Website Official website

Mary Norwood is an American politician and businesswoman who is a former member of the Atlanta City Council and was a candidate for mayor of Atlanta in 2009 and 2017. In both campaigns she advanced to the runoff, but respectively lost to Kasim Reed and Keisha Lance Bottoms by narrow margins. In addition to her mayoral runs, she represented city-wide posts on the Atlanta City Council from 2002 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018. [2][3][4] She resides in Atlanta's Buckhead community.

2009 Atlanta mayoral election[edit]

Mary Norwood has been involved in the Atlanta area for the past 30 years, beginning as a community activist.[citation needed] In 2009, she ran for Mayor of the City of Atlanta, but eventually lost to Kasim Reed in a runoff election.

Norwood received 46 percent of the vote on Election Day, the largest proportion of all the candidates, but as no candidate received a majority (more than 50% of the vote), she entered a runoff election on December 1, 2009.[5] However, Kasim Reed received more votes in the runoff, and, after a recount, Norwood conceded.

According to an investigation by the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, campaign records show that the Georgia Democratic Party spent at least $165,000 to attack Norwood. This, along with an eight percent jump in voters for the runoff contributed to Reed winning the mayoral runoff election by about 700 votes out of approximately 84,000 votes total.[6][7]

Norwood campaigned on a platform of fiscal responsibility, and in a political advertisement she asserted that the city of Atlanta had misplaced $100 million. However, the city administration disputed the claim, explaining that $116 million was borrowed from the Watershed Management Department for city projects, and the money is being repaid by those departments.[8]


Norwood voted against the tax increase proposal in June 2008, which did not pass. The City of Atlanta then responded by reducing public safety personnel and imposed a 10 percent pay cut on city workers to balance the budget.[9] In both instances, Norwood asked the City to reduce its spending on areas other than public safety personnel.

The City of Atlanta’s budget was said to be balanced for several years.[10] However, by March 2009, Atlanta’s bond rating was downgraded by Standard & Poor’s, a key credit rating agency. This downgrade resulted from four years of operating deficits, as well as longer-term pressures associated with the Atlanta’s underfunded pensions, police overtime, and subsidies to several funds.[11] Atlanta’s solid waste and capital finance funds were also downgraded.

In June 2009, the City Council voted 8-7, to increase the Atlanta property tax rate for general operations from 7.12 mills to 10.12 mills, a 42 percent increase. Atlanta is one of the few big cities nationwide to raise property taxes that year.[12] Mary Norwood voted against this increase, insisting that there was money to be found within Atlanta’s budget.

2017 Atlanta mayoral election[edit]

Norwood filed to run in the 2017 Atlanta mayoral election in October 2016.[13] Similar to the 2009 race, she has called for increased transparency in the municipal government, along with various additions to Atlanta's public transportation systems.[14][15] According to the Norwood campaign website, her campaign is focused broadly on four issues: safety, transparency, sustainability, and prosperity.[16] Norwood was initially considered the frontrunner in the race due to her strong performance in the 2009 runoff and her history of being elected city-wide.

The race attracted significant attention due to Norwood's status as an independent politician and the fact that, if elected, she would have been the first White mayor of Atlanta since Sam Massell in 1974.[17] Several of Norwood's opponents and the Georgia Democratic Party attempted to portray her as a Republican.[18]

In the first round of voting held November 7, Norwood came in second place with 20,144 votes.[19] She advanced to a runoff with city councilor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was endorsed by mayor Kasim Reed.[20] Norwood and Bottoms participated in multiple debates and forums during the runoff campaign, and Norwood was endorsed by former candidates Cathy Woolard and Ceasar Mitchell and former mayor Shirley Franklin. During the runoff campaign, Bottoms made an issue of Norwood's use of the word "thug" in comments she made before a Young Republicans meeting in 2009.[21]

Norwood lost to Keisha Lance Bottoms by 759 votes in the runoff on December 5.[22] Like in 2009, Norwood initially asked for a recount and refused to concede on election night.[23] A recount later took place on December 14, but failed to give Norwood the edge.[24] She eventually decided to not further contest the election results and conceded the race on December 21.[25]


Mary Norwood attended Sweet Briar College, is a graduate of Emory University, and has been an Atlanta resident for 35 years. Her husband, Dr. Felton Norwood, was a pediatrician at Piedmont Hospital for more than 30 years. She was born in Augusta, Georgia.[26]


  1. ^ "Augusta native Mary Norwood in Atlanta mayor's race today". Augusta Chronicle. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2017-11-08. Ms. Norwood was born in 1952 in Augusta to Bill Bush, a brick manufacturer, and Frenchie Battey Bush, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  2. ^ "Atlanta City Council bio". Archived from the original on 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  3. ^ Stirgus, Eric (2008-09-13). "Atlanta mayoral candidates try to make their case". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  4. ^ Haines, Errin (2009-08-31). "After 35 Years, Next Atlanta Mayor Could be White". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  5. ^ "Atlanta Race for Mayor Heads to Runoff". Fox News. 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2009-11-20. 
  6. ^ Walls, Jim (September 13, 2010). "Partisan dollars backed Reed win". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  7. ^ Judd, Alan (February 18, 2017). "Mystery surrounds key figure in Atlanta bribery case". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  8. ^ "". 
  9. ^ "Atlanta Government". 
  10. ^ "Communitypartner" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-01-17. 
  11. ^ "S&P Drops Atlanta To Single-A". 
  12. ^ "Atlanta officials defend higher tax". [dead link]
  13. ^ Wheatley, Thomas (October 5, 2016). "Mary Norwood is running for mayor". Creative Loafing. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  14. ^ Catts, Everett (January 25, 2017). "Atlanta mayoral candidates clash at Buckhead Coalition forum". Marietta Daily Journal. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Atlanta 2017 Mayoral Race Kicks Off at Buckhead Coalition Forum". Atlanta Tribune. January 26, 2017. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  16. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "Why Atlanta Could Elect Its First White Mayor in 4 Decades". Huffington Post. December 5, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  18. ^ "'Mary the Republican' under fire from Georgia Democrats in mayor's race". Atlanta Journal Constitution. October 5, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  19. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed endorses Keisha Lance Bottoms for mayor". Atlanta Journal Constitution. October 11, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2017. 
  21. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Mary Norwood concedes defeat in Atlanta mayoral race". 
  26. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)

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