Atlanta Mayor Bottoms endorses Warnock, Ossoff in U.S. Senate races

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Thursday endorsed Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff for U.S. Senate, becoming the latest major state Democratic figure to back Warnock in his crowded race.

Bottoms said in a statement that Ossoff and Warnock — who are running for different Senate seats — are the leaders Atlantans need.

Together they are our future," Bottoms said. “As communities across Georgia navigate intersecting threats to public health, equal justice under the law, corruption and the influence of dark money in politics, and the future of our planet, this moment demands that we elect leaders like Warnock and Ossoff who will take on these challenges and build a better future for our children.”

Her endorsements come in advance of early in-person voting, which begins Monday. During a press conference held virtually Thursday morning, Bottoms said the country is at an inflection point and that “our children are watching.”

“This is an opportunity for us not just to change the landscape of representation in Georgia, but to change the landscape of our nation,” the mayor said. “Two Senate seats. Two opportunities for us to send strong leaders to the Senate.”

Credit: Ben Gray

Credit: Ben Gray

Ossoff, an investigative journalist, is running in November against incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue.

Warnock, the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, is one of 21 candidates on the ballot in a special election for the seat currently held by Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed by Brian Kemp when Johnny Isakson retired before the end of his term. A January showdown between the two top finishers in the 21-candidate race is expected, because no candidate is likely to win more than 50% of the vote in November.

Warnock is seen as the leading Democratic candidate in that race after getting the backing of high-profile party leaders like Stacey Abrams, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and now Bottoms.

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The widespread support for Warnock has intensified calls for other Democrats running in the special election like Matt Lieberman to drop out ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3. Some worry that Lieberman’s presence in the race will siphon enough votes from Warnock to lock him out of the runoff. A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed Warnock with a sizable lead over Loeffler and fellow Republican Doug Collins, and Lieberman in the single digits.

When asked whether other Democratic candidates should drop out, Bottoms declined to “speak to what anyone else does in terms of their personal decisions.”

“What I will say is that the facts are very clear on what we’re facing with this election,” she said, explaining that if Warnock wins in November without a runoff, he could be seated immediately and potentially vote on President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

Lieberman, whose father Joe is a former vice presidential nominee, has flatly rejected talk of quitting and insists he has the same chance as Warnock in the November special election.