Progressive Firebrand Vincent Fort Falls Short In Atlanta Mayoral Race


Vincent Fort, a former Georgia state senator backed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), fell quick in his run for mayor of Atlanta on Tuesday, denying progressive activists a clear sweep within the Southeastern cities which have held mayoral elections prior to now yr.

City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms and City Councilwoman Mary Norwood will proceed to the runoff, having earned 30 p.c and 23 p.c of the vote, respectively, with 95 p.c of precincts reporting.

Former City Councilwoman Cathy Woolard obtained 18 p.c of the vote, adopted by Fort with 11 p.c.

The end result implies that Atlantans probably is not going to have the chance to dramatically break with the substance and magnificence of town’s current management at a time when working-clbad and poor residents really feel more and more threatened by gentrification.

“Vince Fort’s election was always a huge uphill climb considering the huge amounts of money from developers and contractors some of his opponents are spending,” stated Joe Dinkin, nationwide communications director for the Working Families Party, a progressive group campaigning for Fort. “No matter the outcome, no matter the ultimate mayor, Vincent Fort ensured that the issues of working-clbad people and poor people, people of color in Atlanta, were at the center of the debate, and all the candidates are gonna have to be responsive to those.”

Fort, a ball of pbadionate vitality with a mustache and black-frame glbades, rose to the rank of Democratic bad over twenty years within the state Senate. He’d promised an about-face in metropolis growth insurance policies that, he argued, prioritize rich builders over town’s working households.

Fort ceaselessly pointed to his report because the creator of Georgia’s landmark predatory lending legislation, and his many years of avenue activism in protection of households dealing with eviction, as proof that he was the one mayoral contender who could possibly be trusted to battle for peculiar folks.

“This is serious business, because we’ve gone from 20 percent gentrified to 70 percent gentrified at something like 5 percent a year,” Fort informed HuffPost in an prolonged interview at his Atlanta marketing campaign places of work. “And if the wrong person gets elected on Nov. 7, guess what? You’re going to have by 2021, the end of the next administration, it could very well be impossible to revert. That’s how high the stakes are.”

Liberal challengers have unseated mayoral incumbents in Jackson, Mississippi, and Birmingham, Alabama, this yr. A progressive reformer can also be favored to develop into mayor of New Orleans in a Nov. 18 runoff.

Left-leaning organizations like Sanders’ Our Revolution and the Working Families Party have been hoping a Fort victory would add Atlanta to their Southern successful streak.

But Atlanta, a metropolis of practically half one million folks that serves because the de facto industrial capital of the area, is notoriously impervious to populist politics.

Much was at stake within the Atlanta race ― and town’s potent enterprise group knew it. Fort promised to barter a greater deal for Atlanta staff and finish corrupt practices that reward crony contractors, together with via the establishment of an inspector normal at City Hall. The metropolis oversees contracting at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport on the planet.

Consequently, as Dinkin famous, Fort’s rivals raised far extra money than he did. As of the beginning of the month, the sphere’s two leaders, City Councilwomen Norwood and Lance Bottoms, raised $1.5 million and $1.2 million, respectively.

Of Lance Bottoms’ whole haul, $23,525 of it got here from folks related to airport contractor Master ConcessionAir, who used fuzzy accounting to get round particular person contribution limits.

Fort, against this, raised $506,000 ― a lot of it in small increments.

Fort additionally confronted vocal opposition from Mayor Kasim Reed (D), a political rival of Fort’s who’s backing Lance Bottoms. In February, Reed known as Fort “one of the most disappointing human beings” he’d ever met, and subsequently went after Fort for his private monetary troubles at a press convention.

The rebel nature of Fort’s marketing campaign was obvious till the very finish. On Tuesday afternoon, Atlanta police arrested Tim Franzen, Fort’s group outreach director and a longtime housing justice organizer within the metropolis, simply exterior marketing campaign headquarters.

A run of Franzen’s tag revealed that he was driving with a suspended license, metropolis police informed The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Fort informed HuffPost this could be the case — however, he stated, it nonetheless wasn’t clear why police pulled Franzen over within the first place.

As a former chief of Occupy Atlanta and frequent participant in Atlanta’s civil disobedience actions, Franzen has alleged that the police routinely harbad him and goal him for unjustified arrests.

Tuesday’s arrest “reeks of politics,” Fort informed HuffPost, calling it an instance of the form of injustice that impressed his mayoral run.

“The Bill of Rights unfortunately does not extend to all parts of the city and to all people,” Fort stated. “If you’re an activist and you stand up against the establishment, you’ll be targeted.”

Carlos Campos, an Atlanta police spokesman, known as Fort’s declare “patently false and absurd on its face.”

“Mr. Franzen was driving on a suspended license, which is illegal,” Campos informed the Journal-Constitution. “It is the only reason his vehicle was stopped.”

The Atlanta Police Department didn’t reply to a request for remark for this text.

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