Reporting from Atlanta — Kasim Reed, a former Georgia state senator, held a slim lead in Atlanta's mayoral runoff election, but the tally remained incomplete late Tuesday and appeared headed for a recount.
If he maintains his lead, he would hold off a strong challenge from a white city councilwoman and continue the city's 35-year streak of African American leadership.
The Fulton County elections office reported that Reed led Mary Norwood by 758 votes, 41,901 to 41,143, with 100% of the precincts reporting. But those totals remained unofficial.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that county officials had stopped counting for the night and would not tally an undetermined number of provisional ballots until Thursday.
Provisional ballots are typically cast by voters if their name is not on a registration list or if their eligibility is challenged at the polls. The eligibility of those voters is usually determined later by election officials.
It was also unclear late Tuesday whether all of the roughly 6,000 absentee ballots had been counted.
Norwood told supporters late Tuesday that she was not ready to concede and would consider calling for a recount.
"I want to know that every vote has been cast, every vote has been counted, every vote has been double-checked," she said before leaving her campaign party.
Norwood, 57, the founder of a telephone marketing company, was vying to become the first white mayor since 1973, when Maynard Jackson won a historic election and became the first African American mayor of a major Southern city.
Between 2000 and 2006, however, Atlanta's percentage of white residents grew faster than that of any U.S. city, according to the Brookings Institution.
In 2000, Atlanta was 33% white and 61% black. By 2007, the city was 38% white and 57% black, according to the Census Bureau.
Norwood garnered significant support in traditionally white, wealthy and conservative sections of north Atlanta. She also picked up support citywide with a promise to be a better steward of city finances, which have been plagued by bookkeeping problems.
Reed, 40, a lawyer, was endorsed by a range of high-profile black Atlantans, including rapper Big Boi and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, the civil rights leader who was an aide to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Reed had previously served twice as campaign manager for current Mayor Shirley Franklin, who is leaving after a second term because of term limits.
Reed -- who cast himself as a candidate of change -- received 37% of the vote in a November general election; Norwood had 46%. Because neither candidate received a majority, a runoff was required.
Late Tuesday night, Reed gave a brief, upbeat speech to cheering supporters, paraphrasing from the children's book "The Little Engine That Could."
Using a churchy cadence, he said:
"I think I can, I think I can. . . . I know I can."