By John Schaffner
Atlanta City Council President Lisa Borders, who in August withdrew from the race for mayor, announced April 1 that she was relaunching her bid for the city’s top office.
Meanwhile, Dist. 8 City Councilwoman Clair Muller, who has represented Buckhead west of Peachtree and Roswell roads for 20 years, announced she will seek to succeed Borders as council president in the municipal elections this November.
Joining Muller in that race is at-large Councilman Ceasar Mitchell, who had announced he was going to seek the mayor’s post but apparently changed his mind when Borders re-entered that race.
Muller and Mitchell at present face two other candidates who have filed to accept contributions for the City Council president race, Elbert A. Bartell, who, according to Muller, has said he will withdraw from the race and support her candidacy, and Shelitha Robertson.
On the other hand, Borders faces a field of more than a dozen candidates, including Buckhead resident and at-large Councilwoman Mary Norwood and Democratic state Sen. Kasim Reed, who helped former Mayor Bill Campbell and present Mayor Shirley Franklin get elected as the city’s chief executive.
Others who have filed papers to accept contributions for the mayor’s race are Peter Brownlowe, Casey Andrea Dantzler, Rod Mack, Mary F. Martin, Allen James Mullins, Duvwon Robinson, Henry Mark Ryckeley Jr., Amaha Dawit Selassie and Jesse J. Spikes.
Franklin, a two-term incumbent, is prohibited from serving a third consecutive term.
The council president since 2004, Borders initially filed paperwork to raise money for a mayoral race in April 2007 and was considered the front-runner until she withdrew in August. She said she needed to devote more time to her ailing parents.
In announcing her return to the campaign, Borders said she now can care for her parents and campaign.
When Borders dropped out, she had about $232,000 in her campaign account. By the end of March, both Norwood and Reed had moved well past Borders in contributions, with Norwood having raised $714,141 and Reed $458,320. Norwood reported having $314,391 cash remaining and Reed $265,085.
Borders, 51, has strong ties to the city’s civil rights, business and political communities. Her late grandfather, William Holmes Borders, was pastor of the Wheat Street Baptist Church and helped desegregate Atlanta’s police force. She is a former vice president of Cousins Properties, one of the metro area’s most prominent development companies.
While Borders is running for mayor, she also will continue serving as president of the Grady Foundation, which raises money for the hospital.
Borders said that if she is elected mayor, she will focus on steadying the city’s finances and improving public safety.
Before Borders’ re-entry into the mayor’s race, Norwood and Reed were generally considered to be the front-runners.
Muller told the Buckhead Reporter she is making lots of phone calls to friends and supporters she has served on the council the past 20 years and is beginning to solicit pledges for funds for her first citywide campaign. She said she is receiving a good response to her campaign for council president.
Muller said she feels her history in service to the city will be important in the election and in her ability to lead the council during the difficult financial times the city faces.
“It will be a joy to represent the whole city,” Muller said, although she added that everyone on the council represents the whole city.
Muller has chaired council committees 17 of her 20 years on that body, including the City Utilities and Transportation committees, and has served on all council committees. She is a board member of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
As of press time, one candidate had filed papers to accept contributions to seek the Dist. 8 council post now held by Muller. That candidate is Yolanda Adrean, a certified public accountant and president of the Mount Paran-Northside Citizens Association.
Meanwhile, Michael Julian Bond, Clarence Turner and Christopher Vaughn have declared their intent to accept contributions to run for the at-large council seat being vacated by Mitchell, and Amir Farokhi and Daryl Graham have done so for the at-large seat now held by Norwood.