Why Is Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Refusing to Seek Reelection?

Dr. Munr Kazmir
6 min readJul 26, 2021

If the Mayor could win reelection, wouldn’t she try?

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms attends a climate change hearing on July 17, 2019. (photo: Senate Democrats)

To the shock of political observers on both sides of the aisle, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, once and future rising star of the Democratic Party, announced in May she will not be seeking reelection.

Though she failed to specify exactly why, she did make a point to mention her decision was not based on fear of losing or lack of financial support for her candidacy from Democratic Party leadership at the highest level.

“Can she fundraise? YES,” Bottoms wrote of herself in a public letter explaining her decision to the city of Atlanta. “With the support of President Biden, I had the most successful single fundraiser of any Mayor in the history of Atlanta.”

A very successful, very recent fundraiser, the Mayor neglects to add, during which she was still very much still in the reelection race to retain her office.

“Can she win again? ABSOLUTELY,” Mayor Bottoms continued in her public statement. “Multiple credible polls have shown that if the race for Mayor were held today, I would be re-elected.”

“Is she afraid of the competition? NEVER,” Bottoms wrote. “I have engaged in several elections, facing multiple candidates, and never once have I cowarded from the competition.”

From shortlisted candidate for Biden Admin VP, to potential Biden cabinet member, to one-term Mayor of Atlanta?

“How did Bottoms go from turning down a Cabinet post to turning down a chance at a second term?” the Atlanta-Journal Constitution mused after Bottoms made the surprise announcement.

In spite of her seemingly heartfelt letter, and the many reasons Bottoms named as not factoring into her decision, she markedly withheld the reasons for this unusual choice.

“Is she running for another office?” the Mayor posed this very question in her “Dear Atlanta,” letter, cagily answering: “While I am not…