Dozens of vehicles filled the parking lot, and at least 20 guests could be seen entering the building around 6 p.m. Security guards were present in part to ask members of the media to leave the premises.
“Atlanta, it’s time to go,” Reed said in remarks captured on video. “Atlanta, tell LA, tell New York, tell Charlotte, tell Dallas, tell Chicago and definitely tell Miami — I’m back.”
Reed initially filed paperwork Tuesday creating a committee that will allow him to begin accepting campaign donations for the 2021 race. There were months of speculation about his entrance into the race, and the former mayor made it official just weeks after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that she will not seek a second term.
There are several other contenders already in the race, including: City Council President Felicia Moore, councilmembers Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown, along with Denton’s attorney Sharon Gay.
But Reed is clearly the most recognizable candidate, having served in the Georgia legislature and two terms as Atlanta mayor, from 2010-17. However, he will have to rebuild trust and confidence with some voters due to an ongoing federal corruption investigation of his administration.
The probe ensnared several members of his team, including bribery convictions against his chief procurement officer and a deputy chief of staff. Reed’s chief financial officer is currently under indictment for fraud and weapons charges.
In an interview with Channel 2 last month, Reed said authorities never accused him of corruption and he apologized for the ongoing federalinvestigation.
Winfield Murray, a lawyer and constitutional law professor at Morehouse College and a former deputy chief of staff to Bottoms, previously told The Atlanta-Journal Constitution that Reed still “wields an incredible amount of political power.”
“No one should underestimate the power that Kasim Reed wields in the city, and anyone who does is making a grave mistake,” Murray said.
Wilborn P. Nobles III covers Atlanta City Hall for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He began covering DeKalb County Schools for The AJC in November 2020. He previously covered Baltimore County for The Baltimore Sun and education for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans. He interned at the Washington Post. He graduated from Louisiana State University.