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She was never really a contender. Former Atlanta mayoral candidate Mary Norwood has dropped her legal challenge to the December 5 run-off election that Keisha Lance Bottoms won by roughly 759 votes.

But Norwood hardly conceded the race. See, one definition of “concede” is “admit that something is true or valid after first denying or resisting it.” But despite subsequent recounts that increased Bottoms’s margin of victory, Norwood is still refusing to acknowledge that reality.

First, she was far from complimentary toward Mayor-Elect Bottoms in the four-minute YouTube video, A Special Message from Mary Norwood, which dropped about 10:30 p.m. ET Wednesday–just in time for 11 p.m. news.

Instead, Norwood began her message by focusing on popular Atlanta slogan, “the city too busy to hate,” and how it factored into her political career and mayoral campaigns in 2009 and 2017. She spent a significant amount of time outlining her 2017 campaign vision before disparaging her opponents.

“As someone who has been involved in politics, I know that it is a rough and tumble game, but I was appalled at the misrepresentations of me personally and of all those connected to me,” she said, with a straight face.

“I was stunned to see that I, who had faithfully and equitably served all Atlantans for over two decades, was being accused of being a racist who would turn back the clock to 1950,” she said before trying to recast her campaign strategy. “They made it all about race and a divisive campaign.”

She characterized her legal challenge to the results as a public service to supporters. Despite “some irregularities with the election,” she made the decision “not to contest it.”

She implied in the video clip that the decision came from her enduring desire to do what’s right for Atlanta.

She did not once mention that she had little choice in the matter because, well, Atlantans voted for Bottoms.

“For the future of this city, I believe it is the right thing to do to move on and hold a new administration accountable to serve this great city well,” she said.

When Norwood finally addressed Bottoms, she did not mention her by name and somehow managed to even make that all about her.

“I wish my opponent a term of governance that embodies all that my campaign did, embracing every Atlantan and working hard for all Atlantans with grace and dignity.”

In the comment section under Norwood’s YouTube message, Bernice Frankl8 observed: “A nice concession speech and you manage not to mention Keisha Lance Bottoms by name. It must have been really painful because you did not congratulate Keisha either.”

Meanwhile, outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed was quick to congratulate Bottoms and Norwood:

Indeed, Norwood conceded her 2009 loss to Reed, who strongly backed Bottoms this time around. “The recount results are final and it is not time to accept the certification of the votes that were cast,” she said then. “Losing is never easy, but given the closeness of this race it was always a possibility.

What made Norwood’s tone so different in the race against Bottoms? Why is acknowledging this loss so hard? Is it because Norwood, an older White woman, can’t accept that the victor is a young, Black woman? We may never know and don’t have to because whether Norwood likes it or not, Atlanta has a Black woman mayor and her name is Keisha!


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