Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announces she won’t run for a second term

atlanta mayor lance bottoms
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the 10th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival Women Superstars Luncheon on August 23, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is bowing out of running for a second term.
  • Bottoms gained a national profile for leading Atlanta through a tumultuous 2020.
  • Bottoms had also turned down a position to serve in President Joe Biden’s cabinet.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she won’t seek a second term on Thursday night, a decision that sent political shockwaves through the city.

“As Derek and I have given thoughtful prayer and consideration to the season now before us, it is with deep emotions that I hold my head high, and choose not to seek another term as Mayor,” Bottoms, who was elected to office in 2017, said in a long letter published late Thursday.

Bottoms gained a national profile in 2020 for leading Atlanta through a tumultuous summer of protests and civil unrest around the killings of Black Americans by police, and forged an allyship with now-President Joe Biden, who recently hosted a fundraiser for her.

In the letter, Bottoms emphasized that she wasn’t scared away by potential competition, saying that her fundraising and polling put her in a strong position to run for another term.

She had been rumored to be under consideration for various positions in the Biden administration throughout 2020, including Ambassador to the Bahamas (which her team denied), head of the Small Business Administration, and even as Biden’s running mate.

In December 2020, Bottoms confirmed she had turned down an offer to serve in Biden’s cabinet for an unspecified position in order to focus on her mayoral duties.

Read more: Washington job moves of the week: A former Matt Gaetz staffer quickly lands a new gig, while Trump’s former EPA chief lands at a conservative think tank

Bottoms stepping down and declining to run for a second term is part of a national trend of mayors, burnt out from shepherding their cities through the COVID-19 pandemic, heading for the exits, The New York Times reports.

Citing people close to Bottoms, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that she declined to run for another term “because she felt her motivation sapping.”

Some reports on Thursday night suggested Bottoms was leaving office so that she or her husband Derek Bottoms could take an executive job with Walgreens in Chicago, which Bottoms’ team denied.

Leading contenders who could jump into what will be a crowded race for Bottoms’ job include former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, 2017 candidate Mary Norwood, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, and former state lawmaker Jason Carter, according to the Journal-Constitution.

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Atlanta’s mayor signs executive order with goal to ‘mitigate’ Georgia’s new restrictive voting law

FILE PHOTO: Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia, speaks at the Concordia Summit in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 24, 2018.  REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia,speaks at the Concordia Summit in Manhattan, New York

  • Atlanta’s mayor signed an executive order, asking the city’s chief equity officer to “mitigate” the impact of SB 202.
  • SB 202, Georgia’s new restrictive voting law, was recently signed by Gov. Brian Kemp.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed an executive order on Tuesday, asking the city’s chief equity officer to “mitigate” the effects of SB 202, Georgia’s new restrictive voting law recently signed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

The announcement comes as politicians and corporations have spoken out against the law, and after Major League Baseball moved its all-star game from Atlanta, Georgia, to Denver, Colorado, in response to the law.

Insider’s Grace Panetta gives a comprehensive breakdown of the new election law.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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Atlanta Mayor says the MLB moving All-Star Game from Georgia ‘is likely the first of many dominoes to fall’ in pushback against new voting law

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

  • Mayor Bottoms said that the MLB’s decision to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta would hit the area hard.
  • “Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” she wrote.
  • GOP Gov. Brian Kemp has lashed out at critics of the controversial new voting bill.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Friday said that Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game out of Georgia over its controversial new voting law is “likely” the start of more actions taken against the state.

While speaking out against the law on Twitter, Bottoms emphasized the economic harm that such a backlash will cause throughout Georgia.

“Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected,” she wrote. “Unfortunately, the removal of the MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed.”

She added: “Boycotts in GA will hit the metro Atlanta hardest and have a ripple effect across the state. Small businesses, corporations that support our communities, and everyday working people will suffer. It is not too late to right this sinking ship.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed on Friday that the decision to move the All-Star Game and MLB Draft was “the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport.”

“Major League Baseball fundamentally supports voting rights for all Americans and opposes restrictions to the ballot box,” he said in a statement. “Fair access to voting continues to have our game’s unwavering support.”

Since the law’s passage on March 25, major corporations, including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola under pressure from politicians and activists, have more forcefully come out against its restrictive measures.

The conservative-backed law tightens election rules in the state by limiting drop boxes, strengthening voter identification requirements, blocking the usage of mobile voting vans, and even banning water and food from being distributed to voters waiting in line, among other measures.

GOP Gov. Brian Kemp, who signed the bill into law, flatly rejects claims that it reinforces voter suppression and said that the law makes it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

Read more: Here are 9 hurdles Biden’s infrastructure plan would have to overcome in Congress before it can become law

On Friday, the governor lashed out at MLB’s decision on Fox News, accusing the organization of adhering to “cancel culture.”

Kemp continued to express his displeasure with the situation on Twitter, lashing out at prominent Democrats.

“This attack on our state is the direct result of repeated lies from [President] Joe Biden and [former Georgia state House Minority Leader] Stacey Abrams about a bill that expands access to the ballot box and ensures the integrity of our elections,” he wrote. “I will not back down. Georgians will not be bullied. We will continue to stand up for secure, accessible, fair elections.”

Abrams, who was narrowly defeated by Kemp in the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race and could potentially run against the incumbent governor in 2022, said on Friday that she was “disappointed” by the move but was “proud” of the MLB’s support of voting rights.

“Like many Georgians, I am disappointed that the MLB is relocating the All-Star game; however, I commend the players, owners and League commissioner for speaking out,” she said in a statement. “As I have stated, I respect boycotts, although I don’t want to see Georgia families hurt by lost events and jobs. Georgians targeted by voter suppression will be hurt as opportunities go to other states. We should not abandon the victims of GOP malice and lies – we must stand together.”

Former President Barack Obama on Saturday praised the decision, making a nod to the late baseball icon Hank Aaron, who faced racial threats throughout his professional baseball career.

“Congratulations to MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens,” he wrote. “There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example.”

As of Saturday, MLB has not revealed the new host city for the 2021 All-Star Game.

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