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WEAKENING STRONG BLACK POLITICAL EMPOWERMENT: IMPLICATIONS FROM ATLANTA'S 2009 MAYORAL ELECTION

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  • This paper is the 2013 Urban Affairs Association Best Conference Paper award winner.

ABSTRACT

Atlanta is perhaps the city with the greatest degree of black political empowerment (BPE) in the United States. Yet in 2009 a relatively weak white mayoral candidate nearly won the general and runoff elections over a field of stronger black candidates. Why? Treating Atlanta as a prototypical case, the article examines factors that undermine the capacity of blacks to retain control of mayoralties in strong BPE cities, with an emphasis on disruptions to black electorates, discontent among black citizens, and reinvestment in electoral politics by whites at the local level.

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