Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms won’t seek reelection

New York isn’t the only city that will elect a new mayor this year.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced late Thursday that she would not seek a second term after what she described as “thoughtful prayer and consideration.”

The Democrat did not give a specific reason for her decision not to run. Her announcement made a point of claiming that “[m]ultiple credible polls have shown that if the race for Mayor were held today, I would be re-elected.”

She also referenced a March fundraiser headlined by President Biden which reportedly raised more than $500,000 for her potential reelection bid.

Bottoms’ political star rose following her June 2019 endorsement of Biden in the Democratic presidential race, and many believed she was on the short list to be his running mate. After Biden was elected, Bottoms reportedly turned down the offer of a Cabinet post, though it remains unclear what position she was offered.

Bottoms has been criticized for her handling of public safety, as Atlanta was one of many cities that experienced a crime surge in 2020. The city saw 157 homicides last year, the most since 1990.

The mayor also faced backlash from local police over her response to the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks by Officer Garrett Rolfe. Rolfe was initially fired (though recently reinstated and placed on administrative leave) and criminal charges were later announced, causing officers to stage a sick-out protest dubbed “blue flu.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, more than 200 local police officers quit last year, many of them doing so after the resignation of Chief Erika Shields following the Brooks shooting.

“It was becoming an untenable situation,” Shields told the paper. “There were multiple things that made it become too difficult to do my job.”

For her part, Bottoms described attempts to blame for the spike in killings as “misplaced frustration.”

Potential mayoral candidates have until Aug. 20 to file paperwork to enter the race. The mayoral election will be held Nov. 2, with a possible run-off four weeks later.

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