Andrew Young to endorse Ceasar Mitchell in Atlanta mayor race

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young is set to endorse Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell’s campaign for mayor as he tries to rise above a crowded field to lead Georgia’s largest city.

The campaign said the endorsement from Young, a former Atlanta mayor and civil rights icon, will be formally announced at the opening of Mitchell’s new campaign office on the city’s westside on Saturday at 10 a.m.

It’s part of a broader retooling of Mitchell’s campaign that involved two key hires. Richard McDaniel, who was Southern regional director of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, is now Mitchell’s chief strategist. And Lance Orchid, a veteran of Clinton and Barack Obama bids, was hired as his campaign manager.

Mitchell is one of nine leading candidates in the wide-open November race to succeed a term-limited Kasim Reed. The contest is all but guaranteed to wind up in a runoff between the two top vote-getters.

Early polls show Councilwoman Mary Norwood, who was narrowly defeated by Reed in 2009, in prime position to lock up one of the spots. The rest of the field is in an all-out scramble for second place.

Young is one of the highest-profile endorsements in a mayor’s race that has attracted national attention.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders backed Vincent Fort’s campaign, but many other prominent Georgia figures have stayed on the sidelines.

That includes former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin, who has flirted with a comeback bid.

Reed, too, has not publicly endorsed any candidate – although he hosted a fundraiser for Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms that he later said wasn’t a sign of his support.

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