Atlanta mayor plays an outsized role as metro “spokesman”

The candidates are plentiful, their backgrounds diverse: They come from inside and outside the political world. They are new and repeat contenders. Among them are an artist, former federal prosecutor, an international businessman.

Only the voters who live in the city of Atlanta’s 130-some square miles will cast ballots in this fall’s mayoral election, but the impact of their decision will be felt far beyond those borders.

As the home of the world’s busiest airport, five of the state’s 17 Fortune 500 companies, and the home address of another eight, Atlanta is the economic engine that drives a 29-county region and therefore the state.

To the outside world, “what happens in the city, for better or for worse, defines the region,” said Doug Hooker, executive director of the Atlanta Regional…

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