Watch: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on decision to end reelection campaign

In her first public appearance since announcing her decision to not seek reelection, Mayor Atlanta Keisha Lance Bottoms said her decision was guided by faith.

Here is the text of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ statement Friday announcing that she is ending her campaign for re-election.

“So someone said to me yesterday, whatever you do, don’t cry. And for God’s sake, don’t have an ugly cry.

“I am a much better writer than I am a speaker. I wish that I could have written something profound to say to you this morning. But the only thing that I could write in my notes this morning was, ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’

“Several weeks ago, I wrote two letters to Atlanta. One was a letter if I made the decision to not run for mayor again. And the other was a letter if I made the decision to stay in the mayor’s race.

“And remarkably they were essentially the same letters. This has been my highest honor to serve as mayor of this city and many of you all have heard me speak of my family’s history in this city going back almost a hundred years. My grandmother would tell me how her father, who was a child of people who was once enslaved in Crawfordville, Ga. packed up a horse and buggy, and they made the journey to Atlanta. My family moved to the Westside of Atlanta, and they found community and they found purpose, and they found a way to make the lives of their children better. And I stand here on their shoulders.

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“So my love for this city was a love planted in my heart long before I was formed in my mother’s womb. And I wish I could tell you there was a moment or that there was a thing, but when you have faith and you prayed for God’s wisdom and guidance, in the same way that it was very clear to me almost five years ago that I should run for mayor of Atlanta, it is abundantly clear to me today that it is time to pass the baton on to someone else. I am immensely proud of the men and women whom I have served with. I could not ask for a better team of people who have a heart and a love for the people of this city.

“Many questions have been asked, is it something to do with my family, and I’ve told you all, my husband Derek -- who actually came out today. You all don’t get to see Derek very much – always said ‘Whatever you do, I am with you. Just don’t mess up my good job.’ So last night, I said, ‘You know, you gotta take back over the health insurance benefits.’ He said, ‘I think I can handle that.’ And I’m grateful for that.

“But the last three years have not been at all what I would have scripted for our city. Three months into our term, there was the biggest cyberattack in the history of a municipality in America. A federal investigation, that seemed to literally suck the air out of City Hall, into the previous administration. There was last summer. There was the pandemic. There was a social justice movement. There was a madman in the White House. And at every turn and every opportunity, this city rose above, and I am so proud of that.

“And what I know is that in the absence of my speaking my truth, people will insert a narrative, which is why I am here today. Roz Brewer is my girl. I love her dearly. But she didn’t get to be the CEO of Walgreens by offering jobs to random friends. I am not going to Walgreens in Chicago. Derek is not going to Walgreens in Idaho. I can’t get Derek to move two miles off of Cascade Road. So I promise you that is not true.

“I don’t know what’s next for me personally and for our family, but what I do know is that this is a decision made from a position of strength and not weakness. I’ve raised the money, had the most successful fundraiser of any mayor in the history of this city with President Joe Biden. I’ve polled it. Nearly 70 percent of the people in this city still like me. If the race for mayor were held today, I would win this race without a runoff. That’s not me making it up – I’ve seen the poll numbers.

“And even with all of those things that I know to be true and I know what I could do, just because you can do it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it.

“I can be mayor again, but there is a reason that there are elections every four years, and in the same way the people have the opportunity to make the decision every four years, candidates also have the opportunity to make a decision. And the decision that I have made, after thoughtful prayer and consideration, is not to seek another term as mayor of this city. So, with that, I am going to open up for any questions that you have.”

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