Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to seek reelection in 2021

Keisha Lance Bottoms will seek a second term as Atlanta’s 60th mayor.

In an email to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office confirmed that Bottoms will run for reelection in 2021.

Bottoms spent much of her first two years in office addressing transparency concerns and ethics issues in the wake of the federal corruption investigation of former Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration. 

Bottoms’ administration and the Atlanta City Council have passed legislation that restricts the use of city-issued credit cards, and established “Open Checkbook,” a online program to allow the public to review the city’s spending.

Bottoms also provided the city’s police and fire department employees with historic raises, prompting some people to call her the “Public Safety Mayor.”

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Atlanta City Councilman Michael Julian Bond said Bottoms declaration ends a lot of speculation. He said he had heard rumors that Bottoms may not run. He called the announcement “comforting,” and said he doesn’t think anyone can beat her. 

“She really hasn’t had any controversies,” he said. 

All modern Atlanta Mayors have won second terms, including Reed, Shirley Franklin, Bill Campbell and Andrew Young. Only businessman Sam Massell lost his bid for re-election after a single term, when Maynard Jackson defeated him in 1973. Jackson was a three-term mayor, serving from 1974-82, and then from 1990-94. 

After battling through a tough general election that included about a dozen candidates, Bottoms defeated Mary Norwood in a December, 2017 runoff election by less than 1,000 votes. It was a second heartbreaking loss for Norwood, a former city council woman, who lost to Reed in 2009 by a similarly slim margin. 

“I don’t have any reaction at all,” Norwood said in response to Bottoms' announcement. “Good for her.” 

Norwood said she has no plan to take on Bottoms again in 2021.

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Bottoms has also focused her time in the mayor's office on affordable housing, announcing a comprehensive plan that includes the redevelopment of vacant and blighted properties, developer incentives, and the creation of a housing innovation lab. She has pledged to leverage $1 billion toward housing affordability to create and preserve 20,000 affordable housing units in Atlanta by 2026. 

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has requested an interview with Bottoms about her 2019 accomplishments, but the mayor’s office has yet to make her available. Bottoms provided an interview to GeorgiaTrend magazine last month, which named her 2020 Georgian of the Year. 

In the magazine interview, Bottoms mentioned the pay increases for public safety officials and eliminating cash bail bonds for low-level offenders as two of the biggest accomplishments, along with ending the city’s “relationship” with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement — the federal agency responsible for immigration enforcement. 

“I’m very proud of the courage it took for me personally and for us as a city to do that,” Bottoms told the magazine of ending the city’s cooperating with ICE.

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In other news:

Fast Facts about Keisha Lance Bottoms Keisha Lance Bottoms is Atlanta's 60th mayor. She the only mayor in Atlanta’s history to be in all three government branches. She was a judge and city council member before becoming mayor. Bottoms is a product of Atlanta Public Schools. She graduated from Frederick Douglass High School. She received her undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University and earned her Juris Doctorate from Georgia State University College of Law. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sor

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