Atlanta mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms declares victory during an election-night watch party Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Atlanta. After the December 5 runoff, less than 800 votes separate the two.
Norwood said early Wednesday that she plans to call for a recount of the votes, saying "It's not over yet".
Voters hit the polls Tuesday to choose Atlanta's next mayor and it looks like the race is too close to call.
Norwood cited an unofficial count in remarks before her supporters, and said while she was trailing her opponent Bottoms, she was waiting for further updates on the vote total later in the week.
In her victory speech, Bottoms reminded supporters that she had come from a modest public school in the city's mostly black Westside. "This is a city for all of us and I'm so honored to be your 60th mayor".
Votes rolled in late Tuesday evening, offering a nail-biting finish for the contentious race to lead one of the largest cities in the deep south - and one that echoed Atlanta's 2009 mayoral contest, when Norwood narrowly lost to Reed and requested a recount, which certified the slim loss.
"This is about Atlanta", Bottoms said.
Fort, however, declined to endorse one of the two remaining contenders and told his supporters to vote their consciences.
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Bottoms led the race by a margin of less than 1 percent, which is the threshold where the second-place finisher may request a recount under state law, according to The Associated Press. Results showed Norwood at 51.3 percent, Bottoms at 45.1 percent and 3.6 percent undecided.
The runoff was needed as Bottoms and Norwood finished first and second, respectively, on November 7 from a crowded field of candidates. In 2009, with about 84,000 votes cast in a runoff between her and Kasim Reed, Reed won by 714 votes. But in a WSB-TV/AJC/Landmark Communications poll of 500 likely runoff voters released December 1, Norwood took the lead from Bottoms.
"Bottoms, who is black, faced Norwood, who is white".
Both candidates are members of Atlanta's City Council. Norwood calls herself an independent and Bottoms is the chosen successor of outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed.
A Norwood victory would mean Atlanta - a gentrifying city where the African American share of the population remains a majority but has gone down over the years - would have its first white mayor in more than 40 years.
- It came down to a little more than 700 votes at the end of Tuesday and the end of a long, hard battle fought between two candidates vying to become Atlanta's next mayor. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Kamala Harris, D-Calif., while Norwood received the endorsement of former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin. Reed has served as mayor since 2010 and was ineligible to run again due to term limits.
Contributing: The Associated Press.