Atlanta City Councilman Andre Dickens formally announced his candidacy for Mayor of Atlanta on May 13, followed a day later by fellow Councilman Antonio Brown. Their candidacies are the latest in what is expected to be a crowded field of contenders after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ended her bid for a second term.
“I’ve dedicated my life to improving our city and serving its residents, and I’m running for mayor to ensure that our government works for everyone,” Dickens said in a statement. “Atlanta is facing many unique challenges, but I was made for this moment. From my training in engineering and economic development, to my experience as a small business owner, to advocating for diversity for one the country’s leading universities, I’ve been preparing to lead our city forward.”
Brown said he wants to create an inclusive ecosystem for the city. “I ask you to join me on a journey that re-imagines public safety, empowers safe communities, improves transportation and crumbling infrastructure, provides quality jobs and affordable housing and recognizes the needs of our vulnerable residents like youth, seniors, the LGBTQ+ community, our working middle class and unsheltered population.”
Both Dickens and Brown could square off against some familiar faces in the fall.
Former Councilman and U.S. House Rep. Kwanza Hall is also contemplating jumping into the race. He posted on Instagram Thursday that he’d been “receiving a huge amount of calls and texts over the past few days encouraging me to run for mayor.” Hall said he was taking the weekend to give it “serious consideration and prayer” and that he’d make a decision soon.
Former Mayor Kasim Reed is also rethinking a run now that Bottoms is out of the equation. Reed told Kiss 104 FM host Frank Ski in April that he was not going to run again, but after Bottoms’ announcement, he told WSB-TV last week that “sometime in the very near future I’m going to make a judgment, and I’m going to make it known.”
Reed has been an outspoken critic of Bottoms’ handling of the crime wave that has engulfed the city over the past year, including record-breaking homicides, car thefts and break-ins, and street racing incidents.
Reed, who served two terms as mayor starting in 2010, would enter 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 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.”
Like Reed, Brown enters the race while embroiled in a scandal. He’s under federal indictment on financial fraud charges that happened before he was elected to the city council. Brown said he is innocent and would not let the allegations disrupt his work for the city and his constituents.
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.