Bell-Saunders

Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing series of stories related to the upcoming Nov. 2 election that will decide Atlanta’s next mayor, city council president, city council members and board of education members. Watch for our Voter’s Guide featuring Q&As with all the candidates coming in October.

Raina Bell-Saunders, who declared her candidacy for Atlanta mayor in early August, will be a write-in candidate in the Nov. 2 election.

Bell-Saunders said she was unable to make the official ballot due to finances and because of late notice on the number of signatures needed to qualify as a “pauper.”

Bell-Saunders said as a busy graduate student, she didn’t have the $5,529 fee and by the time she found out the percentage of signatures needed to qualify as a pauper – 2,930 – she had neither the time or the desire to risk her safety as COVID-19 surges.

“Going door to door with the delta variant exploding and a 10-year-old unvaccinated at home just wasn’t going to happen,” she said.

Bell-Saunders, a Buckhead resident and native Atlantan who worked as a legal assistant to Stacey Abrams,  said she was officially set up to fundraise and would be working with grassroots organizations like Act Blue and She Should Run to assist with her campaign. She said she also planned to appear at upcoming forums.

Fourteen candidates qualified to run for mayor last week, including former two-term mayor Kasim Reed, as well as City Council President Felicia Moore, Councilman Andre Dickens, Councilman Antonio Brown and local attorney Sharon Gay.

Other candidates include Kirsten Dunn, Nolan English, Rebecca L. King, Mark Hammad, Kenny Hill, Walter Reeves, Roosevelt Searles III, Richard N. Wright and Glenn S. Wrightson.