Atlanta mayoral hopefuls Mary Norwood and Kasim Reed attacked each other’s records Sunday night during their final debate before Tuesday’s runoff election.
Norwood accused Reed, a former state senator, of being a political insider, but the sharpest attacks came from Reed. He said Norwood, a two-term city councilwoman, constantly “got it wrong” by, for example, voting along with the rest of the council in favor of pension plan changes in 2002 and 2005. The changes now mean the city is spending more than $100 million a year on its pension plans. Reed also complained Norwood’s vote against a property tax increase last year resulted in furloughs of police officers.
“Where have you been, Ms. Norwood?” Reed asked rhetorically.
Norwood has said she voted against the tax increase because city officials have not given her information she’s requested. Norwood reiterated that complaint Sunday and said she’s been an “outsider” at City Hall.
“Mary Norwood is not part of the current regime,” she said.
“And not getting very much done,” Reed immediately replied.
Norwood asked Reed whether he can truly make positive changes at City Hall. She accused Reed of taking campaign contributions from “special interests” and being endorsed by “every politician you can find.”
“How can you with a straight face promise to clean up the mess at City Hall?” she asked.
At one point during the debate, she called Reed the “protege” of Mayor Shirley Franklin. Reed worked as Franklin’s campaign manager for both of her mayoral victories and served as her transition co-chair.
The 30-minute debate was shown live on WSB-TV. Three recent polls suggest the race is a dead heat, and the candidates are battling fiercely to encourage their supporters and the few undecided residents to vote again Tuesday.
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