Atlanta mayor gives Biden credit for success in Georgia

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' support for Joe Biden started in the Democratic presidential candidate’s darkest hour. And it continued Friday, after Biden took a slim statewide lead over Donald Trump and placed himself on the cusp of becoming the first Democrat to win Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Bottoms said Friday on MSNBC that Biden deserves the credit for his success in Georgia.

“At the end of the day, all the credit for this win will go to Joe Biden and his team,” Bottoms said. “They believed in Georgia and sent people, including President Obama and Kamala Harris. They believed Georgia could go blue.”

Bottoms support started with a picture posted on Twitter in April 2019, as allegations arose that the former vice president had sexually harassed women or touched them in ways that made them uncomfortable.

In the photograph, Bottoms smiled as she touched foreheads with the future Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.

“Everyone’s experience is their own,” she wrote. “As for mine, I found my introduction and interaction with @JoeBiden to be genuine and endearing."

Then, over the next 17 months, she became one of his most important advocates. Columbia, S.C. Mayor Steve Benjamin, a past president of the United States Conference of Mayors, said Bottoms was “at times, maybe the most effective surrogate for the vice president.”

Bottoms campaigned with Biden all over the country, stepping in to help at the most critical of times.

In a debate on June 27, 2019, Kamala Harris, a democratic presidential candidate at the time, sharply criticized him for his opposition to busing to integrate the schools in the early 1980s.

Bottoms, another woman of color, publicly endorsed Biden the next day, arguing that he was the Democrats' best chance to defeat Donald Trump. Bottoms previously told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she did so against the advice of her most senior advisors, becoming one of the first big city mayors to cast her lot with the former vice president.

She remained staunchly loyal as she appeared in spin rooms in Houston, New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina — where his campaign appeared all but dead.

After Biden’s campaign saw a resurgence, Bottoms was vetted as a potential running mate.

The mayor has also faced sharp criticism locally for spending too much time on Biden’s campaign and raising her own national profile at the expense of the city. She has brushed it off, saying that she can walk and chew gum at the same time.

At a Biden campaign rally in Atlanta the day before the election, where she spoke alongside several prominent Democrats including former President Barak Obama, she reminded everyone of the importance of getting to the polls.

She cited her own slim victory of 832 votes in the mayoral race in 2017 as an example.

“Every vote matters,” Bottoms said during the drive-by rally at Turner Field. “I stand here as the 60th mayor of Atlanta as a testament to that reality.”