Atlanta Mayor Cites Triumphs, Disappointments In Decision Not To Run For Reelection [Video]

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms doesn’t plan on seeking reelection.

via: NPR

In an emotional news conference Friday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms explained her decision not to seek a second term, citing the challenges of her time in office and a desire to make room for a potential successor to prepare a campaign.

The briefing came after Bottoms announced Thursday that she would not run for reelection this year. She first privately told close friends, staffers and allies of her decision, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“The last three years have not been at all what I would have scripted for our city,” she said, citing a major cyberattack in her first months in office and a federal investigation into corruption under her predecessor, former Mayor Kasim Reed, “that seemed to literally suck the air out of City Hall.”

“There was last summer. There was a pandemic. There was a social justice movement. There was a madman in the White House,” she said.

“It is abundantly clear to me today that it is time to pass the baton on to someone else,” she said.

Bottoms has been seen as a rising national star in the Democratic Party, making her decision not to seek reelection even more surprising. At one point she was on President Biden’s list of potential running mates. Later, she reportedly turned down an offer to serve in Biden’s Cabinet.

However, on Thursday night she shocked the political establishment in Georgia by publishing a lengthy open letter and slickly produced video on dearatl.com elaborating on her decision. In it, she ticks off a list of achievements, such as investments in affordable housing and tens of millions of dollars spent on homelessness.

“While I am not yet certain of what the future holds,” she wrote, “I trust that my next season will continue to be one full of passion and purpose, guided by the belief that within each of us is the power and responsibility to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

At Friday’s news conference, Bottoms tamped down speculation that she might be preparing to run for higher office in Georgia — perhaps governor — and news reports she had accepted an executive position at Walgreens.

“In the absence of my speaking my truth, people will insert a narrative, which is why I am here today,” Bottoms said.

Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer, one of the first Black female heads of a Fortune 500 company, “is my girl. I love her dearly,” Bottoms said. “But she didn’t get to be the CEO of Walgreens by offering jobs to random friends. I am not going to Walgreens in Chicago.”

Bottoms said that several weeks ago, she had written two letters — one if she decided not to run for reelection, and another if she did. “Remarkably, they were essentially the same letter.”

But she also indicated that thoughts about not continuing in the job were not new.

Of her final decision, Bottoms said, “I can’t say I heard a voice. It wasn’t like ‘Noah go build an ark,'” adding that “even in my first year” as mayor, “I wasn’t sure that I would run again.”

She’d been thinking of not running again, she said, “for a very long time.”

City Council President Felicia Moore has already announced her mayoral bid.

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