Jackie Gingrich Cushman

A group of black men wearing orange "Dads on Duty" T-shirts were at the Varsity supporting Norwood. Fred Watson, who survived multiple gunshot wounds to his head when he was robbed in Washington, founded the 2-year-old grass-roots organization.

Phil Newman, a white Norwood poll-watcher, took time off work to watch two precincts in Atlanta's largely black south side. Newman noted the poll managers there had handled most discrepancies in a "very calm, orderly and structured fashion."

A van adorned with Reed banners pulled within 150 feet of the polling station, in violation of the law, he said. When Newman asked the van to move, a Reed campaign poll-watcher threatened Newman, saying, "I'm going to get you -- I'm going to kick your ass."

Newman "no longer felt safe at the poll," noting that one resident had told him that "the police won't come here." Newman said he thought a Norwood victory would change that. He stayed until the polls closed.

Why volunteer for Norwood? Newman said, "I believe in Mary -- she has resolved issues. I can trust her."

First-term Georgia State Rep. Ralph Long, III, (D- 61) tall, slim, handsome and African-American, was at the Varsity with his wife Erica. Long, one of the few elected officials to endorse Norwood, said he did so because "we are not in a position to compromise our values."

Since endorsing Norwood, Long has received "a lot of negative and nasty stuff ... but also a lot of respect and beautiful e-mails from across the city of Atlanta. You learn about people -- we have a lot of work to do in Atlanta far as unifying Atlanta," he said.

Reed told WAGA-TV Wednesday morning that, if he wins the city's top job, he "would like to have Mrs. Norwood involved in an important way if she would like to continue to be involved in municipal government."

"I think that she has an important voice, and I think that it's vital that we work together to unify the city that we both love," Reed said.

However the recount turns out, it would be great, once again, for Atlanta to be the city too busy to hate, and ready to shine.

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.