Atlanta Mayor Keshia Lance Bottoms

By Sean Yoes
AFRO Senior Reporter

A stunning announcement by a rising star in the Democratic Party has sent shockwaves throughout the Georgia political arena, reverberating around the nation.

Atlanta Mayor Keshia Lance Bottoms announced May 6 that she would not seek re-election. She made in a statement via Twitter with a video attached. Then on May 7, during a press conference at City Hall she tearfully discussed her deep-rooted love for the city that she has presided over for the last four years.

“This has been my highest honor to serve as mayor of this city and many of you all have heard me speak of my family’s history in this city going back almost 100 years,” Bottoms said. “My grandmother would tell me how her father, who was a child of people once enslaved from Crawfordville, Georgia, packed up a horse and buggy and they made their journey to Atlanta. And my family moved to the westside of Atlanta and they found community and they found purpose. And they found a way to make lives better for their children,” she added. “And I stand here on their shoulders.”

Bottoms rose to national political prominence during her tenure as Atlanta mayor in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement. She was an eloquent and forceful voice during protests following the murder of Ahmaud Abery in Georgia in February, and then again during peaceful protests in Atlanta that turned violent last May, after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And the Atlanta mayor was a strong voice against attempts at voter suppression in Georgia.

Bottoms was also amongst the political leaders considered for cabinet positions in the Biden Administration. 

She served on the Atlanta City Council for eight years, before she was elected in 2017, in a narrow runoff victory.

“So my love for this city was a love planted in my heart long before I was formed in my mother’s womb. And I wish that I could tell you there was a moment or that there was a thing,” she said. “But, when you have faith and you pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. In the same way that it was very clear to me almost five years ago that I should run for mayor of Atlanta, it is abundantly clear to me today that it is time to pass the baton on to someone else.”

Georgia political observers say that Bottoms exit from the mayor’s race creates a wide open field of possible candidates.

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore declared her candidacy earlier this year. And there are some that believe former two-term Mayor Kasim Reed (who Bottoms replaced) could vie for the mayor’s seat again.


Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor