Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will not seek reelection after just one term in office.
Bottoms, 51, who was once on a short list of prospective running mates for Democratic President Joe Biden, announced the surprising decision late Thursday night in a letter and video posted online, though she didn’t specify why she wouldn’t run again or what her future plans are.
“In the same way that it was very clear to me almost five years ago that I should run for mayor of Atlanta, it is abundantly clear to me today that it is time to pass the baton on to someone else,” she said at a news conference Friday.
Bottoms, whose term expires in January, rose to prominence as a national voice in the wake of the George Floyd protests and during a similar crisis in her own city after the police shooting of Rayshard Brooks. Her exit will undoubtedly fuel speculation about her joining the Biden administration in some capacity.
Meanwhile, the upcoming vacancy creates a wide-open field for potential candidates, including former Mayor Kasim Reed and Antonio Brown, who became the city council’s first openly LGBTQ member.
City Council President Felicia Moore and attorney Sharon Gay had already declared their candidacies earlier this year.