The mayor of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was seen as a possible running mate for Joe Biden in last year’s presidential election, said late on Thursday she will not seek a second term in office.
Bottoms, 51, who was elected mayor in 2017 and is just the second Black woman to lead the city, did not provide a reason for her decision and did not say what she would do next, when she announced the surprise news.
“It is with deep emotions that I hold my head high, and choose not to seek another term as Mayor,” Bottoms wrote on Twitter.
An early supporter of Biden, the past year put Bottoms in the frontlines of the country’s two largest challenges, with Atlanta riven by protests over George Floyd’s murder on 25 May, and the city emerging as a hotspot in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bottoms drew wide appreciation for her passionate televised news conference in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, addressing protesters in the city directly in a message of empathy towards them over racial discrimination.
She then urged them to “go home” and study the non-violence measures followed by civil rights icons.
But she faced criticism shortly after, when Rayshard Brooks, another Black man, was shot and killed by Atlanta police in June, even though she had said that the city’s police procedures would be reviewed in the wake of Floyd’s death.
On Wednesday, the city reinstated the police officer who shot Brooks and was fired by Bottoms, with the Atlanta civil service board saying she dismissed the officer, who is white, without a hearing and failed to follow procedures.