ATLANTA — Keisha Lance Bottoms, the first-term Atlanta mayor who rose to nationwide prominence this previous yr along with her stern but empathetic televised message to protesters however has struggled to rein in her metropolis’s spike in violent crime, is not going to search a second time period in workplace, in accordance with two individuals who had been on a Zoom name with the mayor on Thursday evening.
The information shocked the political world in Atlanta, an important metropolis within the Southeast and one the place the mayoral seat has been stuffed by African-American leaders since 1974, burnishing its fame as a mecca for Black tradition and political energy.
It is unclear why Ms. Bottoms, a Democrat, is just not looking for one other time period, however 2020 took a toll on mayors nationwide. It was one of the vital tumultuous years for American cities for the reason that Sixties, with the social and financial disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic as nicely as racial justice protests that generally turned damaging.
In November, St. Louis’s mayor on the time, Lyda Krewson, announced she would not pursue a second term. A month later, Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle introduced she wouldn’t run for re-election. Several mayors in smaller cities have additionally declined to run once more, exhausted or demoralized by the ravages of 2020.
Two contenders who’ve been looking for to unseat Ms. Bottoms within the November election have promised to do a greater job preventing what Ms. Bottoms has known as a “Covid crime wave,” which features a 58 p.c spike in homicides in 2020.
But Ms. Bottoms, 51, was anticipated to mount a formidable protection. She has a loyal ally in President Biden, whom she was early to endorse, and who repaid her loyalty with an look at a virtual fund-raiser in March. Ms. Bottoms was talked about briefly as a possible vice-presidential operating mate and stated that she later turned down a cabinet-level place within the Biden administration.
Ms. Bottoms, who served as a decide and a metropolis councilwoman earlier than being sworn in as mayor in 2018, can also be blessed with a voice — measured, compassionate, barely bruised and steeped in her expertise as a Black daughter and Black mom — that appeared uniquely calibrated to handle the challenges of the previous yr.
It was within the aftermath of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis that Ms. Bottoms went on dwell tv and have become a nationwide star as she spoke on to protesters. Some of their demonstrations had descended into lawlessness, with folks smashing home windows, spray-painting property and leaping on police vehicles.
“When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt,” she stated. Then she scolded the protesters, insisting that they “go home” and examine the precepts of nonviolence as practiced by the leaders of the civil rights motion.