Atlanta Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Thursday that she will not seek re-election this fall.
In a letter, the first-term Democrat confirmed news she had shared in a call with staff and allies that was first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In the letter posted to her Twitter account Thursday evening, Bottoms thanked her supporters and the city’s residents, highlighting her accomplishments in office, including on jobs, housing, public safety and redevelopment. Bottoms said she and her husband “have given thoughtful prayer and consideration” to their next chapter and decided not to seek another term.
“It is with deep emotions that I hold my head high, and choose not to seek another term as Mayor,” she wrote, adding that she could win re-election but decided against running.
Bottoms, who was elected in 2017, rose to national prominence during the 2020 election cycle as one of then-candidate Joe Biden’s earliest supporters and an outspoken critic of Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to reopen Georgia, going toe-to-toe with him in court over her decision to enforce a mask mandate in the city of Atlanta. She was rumored to have been in consideration as a Biden running mate.
Bottoms was also thrust into the national spotlight during the national civil rights upheaval ignited by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last May.
The announcement comes days after the reinstatement of the Atlanta police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in June. The officer will remain on administrative leave.
Bottoms had already begun fundraising for her reelection campaign, including an event with Biden. A few others have decided to run, but Bottoms’ announcement could widen the field. Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, a Democrat, has already announced plans to seek the post in the Nov. 2 election.
Bottoms faced a number of issues in the city over the past year regarding crime and public safety. In 2020, for instance, the city had a record number of homicides, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
In her letter, she did not say what her next role will be and did not shut the door on running for elected office again, but said she will finish out her term.
“I have engaged in several elections, facing multiple candidates, and never once have I cowarded from the competition,” she said. “It is my sincere hope that over the next several months, a candidate for Mayor will emerge whom the people of Atlanta may entrust to lead our beloved city to its next and best chapter.”
She added, “For our country, it means working to advance the agenda of the Biden-Harris Administration.”