Robocall says mayoral candidate will ‘keep Atlanta black'

Candidate wants investigation after robocall claims she will 'keep Atlanta black'

ATLANTA — A robocall aiming to support one of the candidates running for Atlanta’s next mayor is raising eyebrows at what some residents are calling offensive.

The call says it comes from “Citizens for Keisha,” and urged listeners to line up behind Keisha Lance Bottoms “to keep Atlanta black.”

The incident comes on the heels of a new WSB-TV, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Landmark Communications poll that puts Lance Bottoms just two points ahead of Mary Norwood, making her the new front-runner in the race.

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The full message from the robocall said:

“Keep Atlanta black. Vote Keisha Lance Bottoms. A vote for [City Council President] Ceasar Mitchell is a wasted vote. Only Keisha can stop the white takeover of City Hall. On Nov. 7, vote Keisha Lance Bottoms to keep Atlanta black.”

Lance Bottoms talked with Channel 2's Matt Johnson on Friday night. She told him that she condemns the recording and is calling for the attorney general to investigate who's behind it.

“I think it's racist, it's inflammatory, and it's illegal,” Lance Bottoms told Johnson, reaffirming that she had nothing to do with the call.

The recording claims to come from a group called "Citizens for Keisha," but Lance Bottoms said the group isn't real.

“This group is not affiliated with my campaign in any way and we've not run a negative campaign at all,” Lance Bottoms said.

Ceasar Mitchell was personally attacked in the recording. He sent Johnson a statement saying:

“Ms. Bottoms is simply verifying what we know to be true: that I am the strongest Democrat in this race and poised for a runoff against Mary Norwood. It is sad and unfortunate that she is playing the race card to drum up support. Unlike Ms. Bottoms, I will be a mayor who serves in the best interest of ALL Atlantans.”

Peter Benton lives in midtown and said he got the call Friday night.

“I was shocked. It was a very surprising ad,” Benton told Johnson.

He said he was disappointed to see race brought into the election in this way.

“We just want a good mayor, we don’t really care about race, sexuality, any of that stuff. We just want someone that can do the job,” Benton said.

Johnson contacted all the candidates running for mayor on Friday night to get their reaction to the recording. Mitchell and Peter Aman's campaigns were the only one that got back him.

Aman called the recording "hate-filled" and "divisive," and said the focus of this race should be on tackling education, public safety, affordable housing and jobs.