News, Politics

Who’s Running For Mayor Of Atlanta?

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she will not seek a second term in office. Some candidates have already launched campaigns to lead the city. Others are still considering a run.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she will not seek a second term in office. Some candidates have already launched campaigns to lead the city. Others are still considering a run.
Credit Andrew Harnik / Associated Press file

Updated at 3:50 p.m. June 9

After Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ surprise announcement she will not seek a second term in office after all, the field of candidates has broadened quickly for the Nov. 2 election.

Here’s a roundup of who is running, and those who have said they are considering a run.

Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed: Reed filed paperwork to begin a third campaign for Atlanta’s top job in early June. He served two terms until 2018, before endorsing Bottoms’ candidacy as his successor. His legacy in City Hall has been clouded by an ongoing federal corruption investigation that has implicated people including his former chief procurement officer and deputy chief of staff. However, Reed has not been charged in that investigation and has denied knowledge of any illegal activity. He previously served in the Georgia state House and state Senate.

City Council President Felicia Moore: Moore announced her bid against Bottoms back in January. The first-term City Council president and two-decade City Council member has said addressing Atlanta’s spike in violent crime and strengthening the city’s police department will be a top priority. In her announcement, Moore said she’s running “because I believe the time is now to get things done. We cannot wait another four years. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for the people of Atlanta and deliver transparency, ethics and accountability.” The same day Bottoms made her announcement, Moore touted a nearly $500,000 fundraising haul.

Sharon Gay: Gay, an attorney with Dentons, entered the race in April. A veteran of the administration of Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, Gay also has worked for the Metro Atlanta Chamber. Gay casts herself as “the only nonpolitician in this race and the only candidate who has the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience with city government, the business and civic sectors of our city, and our neighborhoods that is needed to bring our city together to address our problems.” Gay said she has more than $400,000 of cash on hand. 

City Councilman Andre Dickens: Dickens, who has served as an at-large City Council member since 2013, announced his campaign this week. Dickens, who counts among his legislative accomplishments the creation of a city Department of Transportation, said in his announcement, ”From my training in engineering and economic development, to my experience as a small business owner, to advocating for diversity for one the country’s leading universities, I’ve been preparing to lead our city forward.”

City Councilman Antonio Brown: Brown, who was elected to the council in 2019, announced a bid Friday. He has cast himself as a progressive voice in city government. In his announcement, Brown pitched himself as a voice for Atlanta’s “underserved communities stuck in a continuous cycle of poverty, struggling to survive everyday, feeling left behind and unworthy.” He is also under federal indictment for fraud charges, which he denies.

In The Wings

Tharon Johnson, a longtime Democratic strategist, lobbyist and ally of Mayor Bottoms, and panelist on WABE’s “Political Breakfast,” told Denis O’Hayer that entering the race is “an ongoing conversation in the Johnson household.” He said he believed he would be a “good mayor” who could “bring the city together” given his experience electing top Democrats and working with state and city government administrations. 

Former City Council member and Congressman Kwanza Hall said Thursday on Twitter that he is “going to take some time to give it serious consideration and prayer over the weekend” and will make a decision soon.

Newly elected Fulton County Commissioner Khadijah Abdur-Rahman has also said she is considering a run.