Slim win for mayor shows battered black electorate

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When the final votes in the Atlanta mayor’s runoff are counted, it’s likely the black political machine that has controlled this city for four decades will pull through one more time.

But just barely.

Ballots are still being tallied. Unofficial results show black former state legislator Kasim Reed ahead of white councilwoman Mary Norwood by a mere 715 votes. A recount is inevitable.

The campaign ended up in a runoff when none of the candidates in November’s general election garnered more than 50 percent of the vote.

The reality is that Atlanta’s black population has shrunk and its white population has increased, and black political power in this beacon of African-American culture is no longer the united force it once was.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.