Former Mayor Kasim Reed filed paperwork with the city Tuesday night to begin accepting campaign donations to win back his old job.
Reed has been loudly hinting that he would jump into the mayoral race since Keisha Lance Bottoms announced in May that she would not seek re-election. Over the weekend, Reed sent out invitations to his 52nd birthday party on June 10 with a request for $1,000 from attendees. In the fine print, it says the party is being paid for by “Kasim Reed for Atlanta.”
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.
Reed, who served two terms as mayor starting in 2010, enters the race as federal officials continue an investigation into corruption on his watch that Mayor Bottoms said “sucked the oxygen out of City Hall.”
Federal investigators have indicted six members of Reed’s staff on bribery charges, including including his former chief financial officer, a deputy chief, and chief procurement officer. Reed said he had been cleared in the investigation, but regretted not knowing about the corruption sooner.
“Anything on my watch, I take responsibility for,” Reed said in the interview last month with WSB. “I’m sorry I didn’t see it faster, and certainly after what I’ve been through personally, but more importantly what our city was taken through, I would do everything in my power to make sure it didn’t happen again.”
Reed joins a growing field of candidates for mayor, including City Council President Felicia Moore, Councilman Andre Dickens, attorney Sharon Gay, Councilman Antonio Brown and political newcomer Walter Reeves. Reed missed out on Tuesday’s first candidate forum, where public safety dominated the conversation.
Candidates must qualify during the week of Aug. 17 to be on the Nov. 2 ballot.