Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at City Hall.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ surprise announcement that she would not seek a second term has blown the doors wide open for her successor as the 61st leader of the City of Atlanta.

At press time, Atlanta City Councilmembers Andre Dickens and Antonio Brown were the latest to join the fray, but they won’t be the last. By the time you’re reading this, the field of candidates will likely be much more crowded.

Former Councilman and U.S. House Rep. Kwanza Hall announced on Instagram that he was contemplating jumping into the race, while political commentator and advisor Tharon Johnson is also mulling over his chances.
The big upset could come from former Mayor Kasim Reed, who said in April he had no intention of running but is now rethinking that position now that Bottoms is out of the equation.

Former Mayor Kasim Reed.

Reed has been an outspoken critic of Bottoms’ handling of the crime wave that has engulfed the city over the past year, including the highest rate of homicides in decades and ongoing spate of gun violence.

The race continues to heat up with Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, local attorney Sharon Gay, Socialist Party Workers’ candidate Rachele Fruit, and newcomers Brandon Adkins and Amanda McGee all declaring their candidacies or filing paperwork to raise funds.
Also rumored to be considering bids are former Councilmembers Cathy Woolard and Mary Norwood (who lost to Bottoms in a 2018 runoff), as well as former State Sen. Jason Carter.

While reining in crime will likely be the race’s defining issue, the future of transportation (especially transit on the Atlanta BeltLine), infrastructure, and affordable housing (see more in Sean Keenan’s story on this page) will also be hotly debated topics.