ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Friday she has wrestled since her first year in office with whether to seek a second term, and this week she made a final decision to step aside even as she insisted she doesn’t know what she’ll do next.
“Leadership sometimes is about passing off the baton,” Bottoms told reporters at City Hall, the morning after releasing an election-year surprise public letter and video announcing that she wouldn’t run for re-election this year.
It was a stunning announcement for the 51-year-old politician who is just the second Black woman to lead Atlanta and who less than a year ago was among the women President Joe Biden considered as a possible running mate.
Bottoms called it a decision rooted in her faith, and pushed back at any notion that she is afraid of a bruising campaign. She noted she’s built a flush campaign account — with Biden’s help — and maintains a strong standing with the electorate, even as she navigates a sometimes rocky relationship with the City Council and with her one-time ally and political benefactor, former Mayor Kasim Reed.
“There is a divine voice that lives inside each of us … that may not make sense to anyone else…. But when you know what you know, it becomes less and less important what other people think,” Bottoms said, adding that she considered the matter as early as the opening months of her administration.