Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed (File photo by Moses Robinson/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)
ATLANTA, GA -- In 2009, former state Sen. Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta) squeaked into the Atlanta mayor's office with a 714 vote come-from-behind runoff victory.
How three years in office have changed Reed's prospects. "In 2013, I think it's going to be a very uphill battle for anybody who decides to challnege Mayor Reed," said Liz Flowers. Four years ago, Flowers was a top aide to Lisa Borders -- who ran against Reed for mayor.
Today, nobody is seriously challenging Reed as he faces re-election this year. And Flowers says, for good reason. "His role as mayor has been way too successful. His fundraising has been successful. He's reached out to broad coalitions. I just don't see anything happening as a challenge," Flowers said.
A disclosure report filed in 2012 showed Reed's election campaign had more than a million dollars in the bank six months ago. That is likely scaring off some potential challengers.
"He has incumbency advantage," said Dr. Andra Gillespie, political science professor at Emory University. "And that's probably going to deter a lot of strong opponents who will just wait the race out and wait until 2017 to decide to run for mayor."
At least one potential challenger is considering it this year, however. Former city councilwoman Mary Norwood tells 11 Alive News she may yet mount a campaign against Reed in 2013. Norwood beat Reed in the November 2009 election but barely lost to him in the December runoff. She has raised no money. But she says "it's still early. It's not appropriate for me to make a decision at this stage of the game."
Flowers disagrees. "I think if you were a serious candidate, you'd be in by now," she said.
By midnight January 8, Mayor Reed is due to file another campaign disclosure updating the size of his 2013 campaign war chest -- perhaps giving his potential opponents another reason to consider staying out of the race against him.