ATLANTA — For the second time in eight years, the mayoralty of the South’s most influential city is likely to head to a recount. Fewer than 800 votes separated Keisha Lance Bottoms and Mary Norwood after local officials tallied more than 92,000 ballots that were cast in a runoff election on Tuesday, according to unofficial returns. The margin was narrow enough that Ms. Norwood, seeking to become Atlanta’s first white mayor in more than 40 years, said she would ask for a recount. But Ms. Bottoms and her allies declared victory early Wednesday. “This has been a very, very, very long campaign, but as we look ahead toward the future,
I look forward to engaging with each of you, making sure that our city continues to move forward,” she said. “And for those who did not support me, I look forward to working with you as well because this is still a city for all of us.” It was a head-spinning night in the Georgia capital for Ms. Bottoms and Ms. Norwood, who traded leads after a fractious campaign in which race was a persistent undercurrent.
But the call for a recount lent it a surreal edge: In 2009, Ms. Norwood sought a recount when she trailed in the mayoral election. Ms. Norwood ultimately lost that race, by 714 votes, to Kasim Reed. Early Wednesday, Ms. Bottoms’s lead was 759 votes — or about 0.8 percent of the vote, within the range in which a candidate is allowed to ask for a recount.