Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has $108,000 to start her 2021 reelection bid, according to a disclosure report filed by her campaign on Thursday.
Bottoms confirmed her intention to seek a second term last week. After her first two years in office, Bottoms’ campaign has considerably less cash on hand than did her predecessor at the same time of his first term — Mayor Kasim Reed’s campaign entered 2013 with more than $1.2 million in the bank.
The report shows that Bottoms’ campaign raised $62,608.91 and spent $70,482.87 since June 30, 2019, after months of speculation about whether she would run for reelection.
The lackluster fund-raising doesn’t necessarily signal weakness to potential rivals, particularly since she is an incumbent, said Andra Gillispie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University.
Every Atlanta mayor since 1973 has won a second term. Maynard Jackson served a single term from 1990-94, but that came after he served two terms from 1974-82.
“I think it’s really early,” Gillispie said. “I don’t know how strong of a challenge Mayor Bottoms anticipates in her re-election,”
None of Bottoms’ six general election opponents in 2017 have raised funds, according to their reports. That includes Mary Norwood, who lost to Bottoms in the 2017 runoff election and has zero dollars on hand.
Bottoms most recent disclosure reflects her focus on helping former Vice President Joe Biden win the Democratic presidential nomination. It shows about $13,000 in political travel and lodging expenses, including to presidential debates over the past six months. She endorsed Biden in June.
Bottoms’ campaign paid several top City Hall insiders who worked on her previous bid for mayor.
Those include $2,500 for consulting to attorney Alvin Kendall, who has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for legal work on behalf of the city and its affiliated agencies. Kendall’s firm donated $2,800 to Bottoms’ campaign.
Bottoms paid nearly $10,000 to a firm owned by Rick Thompson — one of five Georgia ethics commissioners who rule on campaign finance complaints. The payment was for campaign finance consulting.
The commission last month notified Bottoms of allegations that her 2017 campaign accepted $382,773 in contributions that exceeded maximum limits established by law. Thompson said he would let the facts determine whether he should recuse himself from participating in decisions involving a client.
Thompson’s partner, Jason Boles, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he helped prepare the most recent report.
Other expenditures include $3,500 to the firm of Sharon Hixon, the city’s director of data for polling, and about $1,100 to Rashad Taylor, a senior advisor in the mayor’s office.
Donors to the mayor’s campaign include a handful of attorneys who have worked for the city under Bottoms’ administration. It is common for city vendors to donate to political campaigns.
Bottoms earned an endorsement from Atlanta Falcons’ owner Arthur M. Blank on the same day Bottoms’ campaign filed the report.
Blank and the mayor appeared together Thursday at a groundbreaking for a new apartment complex in West Atlanta for police recruits.
“I read that our beloved mayor, beloved for who she is, and beloved for her work, has agreed now to run for a second term,” Blank said, according to Channel 2 Action News. “That doesn’t mean that somebody who’s foolish won’t run against her. And that would be foolish. But we’re very very fortunate, Keisha, to have you as our mayor and as our leader.”
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