ATLANTA (AP) _ A city councilman was heavily favored in today's mayoral election despite his opponent's effort to tie him to a bribery scandal at the city airport.

The winner will lead the city through the 1996 Olympics.

Bill Campbell came within 831 votes of winning the Nov. 2 election outright. He got more than 49 percent of the 81,655 votes cast, but needed a clear majority. Former Fulton County Commission Chairman Michael Lomax, got 23 percent, enough to force Campbell into today's nonpartisan runoff.

A poll released last week gave Campbell a 3-1 edge.

Campbell has the endorsement of retiring Mayor Maynard Jackson. Lomax has the support of former mayor Andrew Young.

Lomax attempted to discredit Campbell by tying him to an investigation into bribery and other corruption at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport.

Several businessmen, a city councilman and a former airport commissioner have been indicted in the case involving kickbacks from concession operators.

Though he did not accuse Campbell of criminal activity, Lomax said Campbell must take responsibility because the scandal unfolded while he was a key player in city government.

Campbell denies involvement in the scandal.

Campbell emphasized such issues as infrastructure improvement, economic development and street crime.

The question of who can better lead the city during the Olympics also was an issue in this image-conscious city, which is the predominantly black hub of a sprawling metropolitan area that includes mostly white suburbs.

For the past 20 years, the mayor's office has been held by two well-known figures - Jackson for three terms and Young for two.