"We just don't know", she said.
A Norwood victory would take city hall out of Democratic hands for the first time since the 19th century, and perhaps more significantly, Norwood's victory would mean Atlanta would have its first white mayor in more than 40 years. The former city council member is demanding a recount and she told supporters she's waiting until absentee ballots from members of the military and provisional ballots are counted.
Bottoms likewise has the backing of major Atlanta hip-hop figures, like Killer Mike and T.I., who compared Norwood to President Donald Trump.
As for the Norwood campaign, no one is conceding the race.
"I believe in the dream that is Atlanta", Griggs said, noting he had grown up under the spell of Maynard Jackson, the city's first black mayor, and Andrew Young, another Atlanta mayor as well as a civil rights icon.
Ultimately, Gillespie said, a white mayor would not spell the end of African American power and political prominence in the city.
"The votes are pretty much a mirror of what happened in 2008", said Williams Boone, a professor of political science at Clark Atlanta University. Tuesday's race saw 92,169 votes cast, less than 20 percent of the city's roughly 500,000 residents.
Though votes tracked along racial lines in north-side and south-side neighbourhoods, both candidates won votes in the political battleground of east Atlanta.
Bottoms' strategists clearly borrowed tactics from Reed's 2009 playbook, capturing national attention with last-minute appearances by Democratic Sens.
Bottoms' victory makes her the second Black woman to hold mayoral office in Atlanta. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California.
Observers say black women were likely key in giving Bottoms' her unofficial lead.
Tuesday's runoff was triggered by the November 7 general election, in which Norwood finished second with 22 percent of the vote to Bottoms' 27 percent. He said whether Bottoms is the last black mayor will be up to voters. "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".