(CNN)Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ announcement that she would not seek reelection shocked many in her home city and Democrats around the country, but she insisted at a press conference on Friday that the decision was a long time coming.
Bottoms revealed her plans late Thursday, touching off a spate of rumors over why she made the choice and what she planned to do next. But on Friday, she denied a number of them, saying that she had no plans to move out of the state and that neither she nor her husband, Derek, planned to take a job with Walgreens, as some outlets had reported.
“The decision that I have made after thoughtful prayer and consideration is not to seek another term as mayor of this city,” said Bottoms, whose term ends in January. She described it as a move she had considered as far back as her first year in office. She did leave open the possibility of running for mayor again at a later time or accepting a job in the Biden administration.
Bottoms’ early support for President Joe Biden and her refusal to back off it during the lowest days of his presidential primary bid elevated her on the national stage and led to speculation that she would be offered a place in his Cabinet or senior staff. No position materialized, but Biden did a fundraiser for Bottoms in late March and she appeared well-stocked to run an expensive re-election campaign.
Despite her insistence otherwise, Atlanta politicos have speculated that Bottoms was uneasy about the prospect of running in November’s hotly contested race to keep her current job. Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore has already launched her campaign and ally-turned-critic, former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, is also believed to be considering a run. Bottoms downplayed those pressures, though she offered some veiled criticism of Reed,
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