Many people in her hometown of Atlanta and Democrats throughout the nation were stunned by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ revelation that she would not run for reelection, but she emphasised at a press conference on Friday that the choice had been made for a long time.
Bottoms Revealed her Plans
Late on Thursday, Bottoms revealed her plans, sparking a flurry of rumours about her decision-making process and her future plans. But on Friday, she refuted some of them, claiming that neither she nor her husband, Derek, had any plans to leave the state or work for Walgreens, as some media outlets had said.
Bottoms, whose tenure as mayor of this city expires in January, said, “The choice that I have made after careful prayer and contemplation is not to seek another term as mayor of this city.” She said it was a decision she had thought about since her first year in office. She did not rule out re-running for mayor at a later date or taking a position in the Biden administration.
It was rumoured that Bottoms would be granted a position in President Joe Biden’s Cabinet or senior staff because of her early support for him and her refusal to renounce it during the worst moments of his presidential primary campaign. No job was created, but in late March, Biden hosted a fundraiser for Bottoms, who looked like she had everything she would need to run an expensive reelection campaign.
Atlanta political insiders have conjectured that Bottoms was concerned about the idea of running in November’s hotly contested battle to keep her current job, despite her insistence to the contrary.
Felicia Moore, the president of the Atlanta City Council, has already started her campaign, and Kasim Reed, a former ally who has since become a critic, is rumoured to be thinking about joining her. Bottoms minimised the demands, though she did subtly criticise Reed, and claimed that no one issue had been the linchpin of her decision.
She added, “It is very evident to me today that it is time to give the torch to someone else, just as it was extremely clear to me almost five years ago that I should run for mayor of Atlanta.”
Confusion when the news first came on Thursday night was exacerbated by the earlier this week revelation of internal polling. The memo discounted the chances of the other candidates, labelling two of them as “largely unknown” to the city’s voters, while exaggerating her high approval rating.
Bottoms claimed during her news conference that she was convinced she would have won another term if she had not opted to stand down, insisting that her decision to not run was “taken from a position of strength and not weakness.” (Bottoms added that she will return campaign donors’ donations.)
Bottoms said that the “past three years have not been at all what I would have scripted for our city,” becoming tearful at moments as she recalled some of the more trying periods during her tenure as mayor.
She brought up the Covid-19 pandemic, which severely affected Atlanta and the state of Georgia, the social justice demonstrations last year sparked by George Floyd’s passing, an early ransomware cyberattack on Atlanta, and leading the city under the previous president Donald Trump, whom she mockingly referred to as a “madman.”
She also denied claims that her choice had been influenced by the Atlanta Civil Service Board’s judgement that Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer accused of fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks in a Wendy’s parking lot in 2020, had been wrongfully terminated. Currently, Rolfe is expected to be reinstituted.
Bottoms remarked, “I don’t agree with the decision. “We have consistently maintained that we adhered to the protocols that were necessary in such emergency situations. Although the board disagreed, which was their prerogative, I would proceed exactly the same manner if I could do it over again.”
When asked if she would participate in the election to succeed her as mayor, Bottoms said she would keep a distance from the commotion but would not be reluctant to express her preference.
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“I don’t think one person chooses the next leader. That is not how it operates. Although it may have done so many, many years ago, it hasn’t done so in a very long time “Bottoms declared.
Therefore, I don’t believe I have the authority to name someone as my successor, but I will undoubtedly announce my voting intentions at the proper moment.