atlanta mayor lance bottoms
Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the 10th Annual BronzeLens Film Festival Women Superstars Luncheon on August 23, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is bowing out of running for a second term.
  • Bottoms gained a national profile for leading Atlanta through a tumultuous 2020.
  • Bottoms had also turned down a position to serve in President Joe Biden's cabinet.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she won't seek a second term on Thursday night, a decision that sent political shockwaves through the city.

"As Derek and I have given thoughtful prayer and consideration to the season now before us, it is with deep emotions that I hold my head high, and choose not to seek another term as Mayor," Bottoms, who was elected to office in 2017, said in a long letter published late Thursday.

Bottoms gained a national profile in 2020 for leading Atlanta through a tumultuous summer of protests and civil unrest around the killings of Black Americans by police, and forged an allyship with now-President Joe Biden, who recently hosted a fundraiser for her.

In the letter, Bottoms emphasized that she wasn't scared away by potential competition, saying that her fundraising and polling put her in a strong position to run for another term.

She had been rumored to be under consideration for various positions in the Biden administration throughout 2020, including Ambassador to the Bahamas (which her team denied), head of the Small Business Administration, and even as Biden's running mate.

In December 2020, Bottoms confirmed she had turned down an offer to serve in Biden's cabinet for an unspecified position in order to focus on her mayoral duties.

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Bottoms stepping down and declining to run for a second term is part of a national trend of mayors, burnt out from shepherding their cities through the COVID-19 pandemic, heading for the exits, The New York Times reports.

Citing people close to Bottoms, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that she declined to run for another term "because she felt her motivation sapping."

Some reports on Thursday night suggested Bottoms was leaving office so that she or her husband Derek Bottoms could take an executive job with Walgreens in Chicago, which Bottoms' team denied.

Leading contenders who could jump into what will be a crowded race for Bottoms' job include former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, 2017 candidate Mary Norwood, Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, and former state lawmaker Jason Carter, according to the Journal-Constitution.

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