Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announces she will not seek re-election

The mayor released a letter Thursday night announcing her decision

Keisha Lance Bottoms won't seek re-election Atlanta mayor
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks at a press conference on March 17, addressing the spa shootings.

Photograph by Megan Varner/Getty Images

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will not seek re-election in November, a surprising move by the popular though politically vulnerable incumbent that opens wide the race to lead Atlanta.

“As [my husband] Derek and I have given thoughtful prayer and consideration to the season now before us, it is with deep emotions that I hold my head high, and choose not to seek another term as Mayor,” Bottoms wrote in a letter and video posted to a website,, seemingly built for the announcement. In the letter, she ran down a list of her accomplishments and was adamant she could be a formidable candidate if she were to run for a second term.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday night first reported the news, citing two sources who attended a virtual meeting where Bottoms announced the news to top supporters.

Bottoms has scheduled a 10 a.m. press conference at City Hall on Friday. A spokesperson directed us to the mayor’s letter.

The move sparks new speculation about who will join the race. Names include former Mayor Kasim Reed, former Councilwoman and two-time mayoral candidate Mary Norwood, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, and Doug Shipman, the former head of the Woodruff Arts Center. Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore and Sharon Gay, a well-known lawyer and former city attorney, have announced their campaigns.