Dickens will be next mayor; crime-fighting plan and Buckhead cityhood battle to come

Andre Dickens will be Atlanta’s next mayor after winning a Nov. 30 runoff in a campaign where he said a top priority is fighting crime and neutralizing the Buckhead cityhood movement in the process.

Dickens, who currently holds the City Council’s Post 3 at-large seat, defeated Felicia Moore with nearly 64% of the vote in unofficial results.

With a crime a top issue citywide, Dickens — who will take office in January — has proposed a public safety plan that includes a “surge” of hiring 250 more police officers in his first year, cracking down on gangs and gun trafficking, and boosting community policing. Like virtually all City officials, Dickens opposes Buckhead cityhood and has said his public safety plans and willingness to listen to constituents should allay the crime concerns driving the secession movement.

However, Dickens’ campaign against Moore, the current City Council president and frequent attendee of local neighborhood meetings, became a bitter one with Buckhead as part of the debate. While Dickens and Moore are both Black and Democrats, the Dickens campaign attempted to link Moore to racists, supporters of former President Trump, and District 8 City Councilmember-elect Mary Norwood, who filed an affidavit supporting one of the many unsuccesful lawsuits that allegedy conspiracy and fraud in Trump’s electoral loss.

Bill White, CEO and chairman of the pro-cityhood Buckhead City Committee, previously mocked both mayoral candidates, and in an Election Night statement offered sarcastic congratulations to Dickens, saying that “we look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition for Buckhead City as we make our future sister cities safe and prosperous!” He also referred to a last-minute campaign kerfuffle over a rumor that Moore wanted to shut down the city’s strip clubs, saying “it was clear to the families of Buckhead that our priorities of safety, education, infrastructure and zoning are no longer aligned with those in Atlanta’s City Hall.”

In other runoff election results:

  • Doug Shipman won the City Council presidency. He is the former CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
  • Keisha Sean Waites won the Post 3 at-large council seat that Dickens is vacating. She is a former state representative who has made several unsuccessful runs for other offices, including Fulton County Commission chair.
  • Tamara Jones won the District 7 at-large seat on the Atlanta Board of Education, a body that is also gearing up to battle the cityhood movement. Jones is an Inman Park architect and urban planner and an Atlanta Public Schools parent.

Several other races for local City Council and school board seats were already decided in the Nov. 2 general election. Those winners include:

  • City Council District 6: Alex Wan
  • City Council District 7: Howard Shook
  • City Council District 8: Mary Norwood
  • City Council District 9: Dustin Hillis
  • Board of Education District 4: Jennifer McDonald