Atlanta Council President Felicia Moore launches campaign for mayor

Felicia Moore announces her bid for mayor.

Felicia Moore announces her bid for mayor.

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore officially announced she is running for mayor, telling supporters Thursday that the city is at a critical juncture amid a rise in violent crime.

Moore said in a short video message that she is challenging incumbent Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in the Nov. 2 race after hearing residents voice frustrations over crime and economic inequality.

“The time has come for me to take the next step. ... While there may be some worthy opponents, this race is not against flesh and blood,” Moore said. “This race is against the crime that is out of control in every neighborhood of our city.”

Moore has served as council president since 2018 after representing a northwest Atlanta district on the council for 20 years. She said issues of infrastructure, city services and government transparency will also be central to her campaign.

While serious crime dropped overall in 2020, Atlanta saw 157 homicides last year, a 58% increase from 2019. Since last summer, some residents and officials have criticized the mayor over the rising homicide and aggravated assault numbers. In recent weeks, Bottoms has unveiled new public safety initiatives aimed at stemming the rise in violent crime.

[Coming Sunday: The AJC takes a deep dive into the 2021 race for Atlanta mayor]

“I am running to make every neighborhood safer,” said Moore, who did not directly mention Bottoms in her remarks. “Every Atlanta resident should feel safe in their homes and communities, in their interactions with law enforcement, and our police must be supported and empowered to do their jobs.”

It was expected Moore would jump into the race after she filed legal paperwork with the state last week allowing her to raise funds to run for mayor.

“It can’t wait another four years,” Moore said in an interview. “I’m offering myself to the citizens, and I will see who they chose to lead them in the next four years.”

Bottoms, who has said she is running for reelection, was asked about Moore’s challenge after an appearance on the floor of the Georgia House of Representatives on Wednesday.

“Nothing about politics surprises me anymore,” the mayor said. “It’s an election year. We know that people will be paying very close attention, no matter who the opponent is. I’m expecting that it’s going to be a very robust campaign year.”

It’s not uncommon for Atlanta City Council presidents to launch bids for mayor. The last five council presidents before Moore have all sought the position. None were successful.

Moore, a licensed real estate broker, lives in the historic Collier Heights community and is a former neighborhood planning unit leader in the area. More candidates could jump into the mayoral race before formal qualifying for the November election later this year.

— Staff reporters David Wickert contributed to this report.