Updated at 10:53 a.m. Thursday
Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has filed paperwork to run again for the city’s top job in the upcoming 2021 election.
This news comes after current Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced last month she will not seek reelection herself.
Reed served two terms in City Hall until 2018, but his legacy has been mired in an ongoing federal corruption investigation that has implicated his former chief procurement officer and a deputy chief of staff.
Reed, who also served in both the state House and state Senate, has maintained his own innocence.
Reed joins an already crowded field of mayoral candidates, including City Council President Felicia Moore and City Councilmen Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown. Five of them attended a candidate forum Tuesday.
Some of those candidates have already indicated how they plan to run against Reed.
In a statement, Dickens pointed to anti-corruption legislation he sponsored and passed while in City Council.
“This was needed because of the rampant abuses in the former mayor’s administration,” he said. “Corruption is Crime. When I meet with everyday Atlantans, working to make our city better, what I hear is that people are ready to move forward and want to turn the page on that corrupt past. The time is now.”
Moore highlighted the need for change in the city.
“Atlanta is at a critical juncture. We can continue on the road that led us here, to a place where our friends and loved ones feel unsafe in their homes and neighborhoods, or we can chart the course to a new future for our city,” she said. “I’ve been fighting for transparency, ethics and accountability at city hall. I’m ready to address these critical issues on day one and move Atlanta into the future.”
Tammy Greer, a political scientist at Clark Atlanta University, said Reed has name recognition and a record of rapid economic development and growth in the city, including the construction of Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the expansion of the BeltLine.
Plus, she said, he may benefit from the demographic effects of those policies.
“Those who may be unhappy with the former mayor and his economic policies that included those folks that were involuntarily displaced because of those expansions are no longer in the city and, therefore, are not eligible to vote in the upcoming election,” Greer said.
Despite “clouds of corruption and legal investigations,” she predicted, “He will receive more points than some may think because of the new groups of voters that are current residents of the city of Atlanta.”
Reed also comes to the race as someone who endorsed Mayor Bottoms, though their relationship appears to have weakened.
In an interview with WABE, Bottoms said that it “ticked her off” that people assumed during her early administration that she was controlled by Reed, given his endorsement.
“It infuriated me. It was an insult to me, to my family, to all of the years that I have worked hard,” she said. “And I don’t think it would have been done to a man.”
During a press conference announcing her decision not to run for reelection, Bottoms vowed not to interfere with her successor’s term. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case always during my term,” Bottoms said.