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Kasim Reed's Stock Rises as Georgia's Demographics Shift

(Moses Robinson/Getty Images for NBCUniversal)
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has made a name for himself as a Democratic surrogate, but back home in Georgia, he is know for being willing to work across the aisle to get things done.

Mayors were in vogue this week at the Democratic convention, with a many addressing the crowd, including one as the keynote speaker. They're the kind of results-oriented politicians with whom even cynical voters can still relate.

That mayor typology worked so well in fact, that Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (N.Y.) earlier this cycle told his House candidates to run like mayors.

And in Reed, one can see why.

"The future of politics is performance," he said. "No Democrat and no Republican is going to be able to survive in the future who does not deliver. People's willingness to tolerate ineffective government is getting shorter and shorter.

"You just don't have the time anymore not to deliver," he said.

Reed said all his TV appearances and surrogacy, and the national media attention help him deliver.

He has been name-checked in a Thomas Friedman column and book. The mayor was recently featured on the glossy London-based magazine Monocle's list of "10 smart governors," along with the mayors of Tel Aviv and Kabul. And then there are the frequent "Meet the Press" appearances.

"My national profile helps me have my phone calls returned when I am advocating on behalf of the city of Atlanta," Reed said.

Like every politician, Reed said he's focused on his job and his re-election. But having a national profile doesn't hurt if you're eying higher office down the line.

An African-American Democrat having a clear shot at statewide office in Georgia would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. But a few years from now, no one will blink an eye. Demographic shifts in the state, with increasing numbers of African-Americans and Latinos who vote overwhelmingly for Democrats, are moving Georgia slowly but ineluctably toward a tossup state.

"The trend is an undeniable trend. It just depends on what year and what cycle," Reed said.

Not long after President Bill Clinton gave a bear hug to President Barack Obama Wednesday night and they clasped hands on stage, the convention called the roll to officially renominate the president as the Democratic nominee.

Reed, a Georgia delegate, was standing shoulder to shoulder with Reps. John Lewis, Hank Johnson and David Scott as the ceremony unfolded.

At the microphone, the state party chairman gave Reed a shoutout.

After the votes were cast for Obama, a cheer went up from the delegation. Photographers snapped a few shots of Reed standing with Lewis, a civil rights icon.

Thousands of people jostled back and forth in the arena as the roll call vote moved on to Hawaii.

Lewis began to move toward the exit and Reed, beaming, stood there in the midst of it all for a moment.

He had the look of a man in exactly the right place at the right time, but who could go just about anywhere.

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