Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday she will not seek a second term, an election-year surprise that marks a sharp turnabout for the city’s second Black woman executive who months ago was among those President Biden considered for his running mate. Bottoms, 51, disclosed her decision publicly in a lengthy open letter and accompanying video Thursday night after having told family and a close circle of associates and supporters, the AP reports. “It is with deep emotions that I hold my head high and choose not to seek another term as mayor,” Bottoms wrote, saying she’d prayed about the decision with her husband, Derek, a Home Depot executive. The mayor is expected to speak publicly Friday morning. Some outlets were reporting she'd accepted a position with Walgreens, though it is not at all clear whether that's confirmed.
Bottoms, who narrowly won a runoff election four years ago, pushed backed against any questions about whether she could have secured a second victory later this year. She noted a reelection fundraiser she held with Biden's support and said polls showed her in a strong position. An Atlanta native and graduate of Florida A&M University, a prominent historically Black college, Bottoms is just the second Black woman to lead the city. She joined Shirley Franklin, who served two terms from 2002-2010. Bottoms noted her family’s deep ties to the city and surrounding region: "My ancestors, direct descendants of the once enslaved, traveled by horse and buggy from the cotton fields of east Georgia in search of a better life for themselves and their children in Atlanta," she wrote. (Read more Keisha Lance Bottoms stories.)