Mayor Pushing Willis or Bottoms to Challenge Mitchell, Sources Say


(APN) ATLANTA — Mayor Kasim Reed is pushing for either Lamar Willis (Post 3-at-large) or Keisha Lance Bottoms (District 11) to challenge Council President Ceasar Mitchell in the 2013 Municipal Elections, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

Three independent sources over the last three weeks have told APN of the plan that is in the making.  The sources include two political insiders and a former senior aide to a Councilmember.

According to the sources, Mayor Reed does not want Council President Mitchell to be his successor in 2017, and would prefer for Bottoms–who has completely gone along with the Mayor in her voting record–to be the successor instead.

Therefore, the plan is for either Willis to challenge Mitchell, and for Bottoms to run for Willis’s at large-seat, raising her visibility for a 2017 run; or, alternatively, for Bottoms to challenge Mitchell.

One source said that Mitchell had spoken with Willis, and that Willis acknowledged that he had been asked to run but that he was not planning to do so.

Still no word on Bottoms’s plans.

Neither Bottoms nor Willis immediately responded to emails from APN seeking comment, including one sent to Bottoms at her personal email account yesterday evening, and one sent to Willis at his personal email account this morning.

Mitchell responded to an APN inquiry by text message, making it seem as if this was the first time he had heard the information.  

“I have heard from 3 sources that the mayor is trying to get Keisha or Lamar to run against you… what do you know about this and is it true that Lamar told you he isn’t going to do it…” the present writer asked.

Instead of answering the question, Mitchell responded, “Interesting… But not much to I [sic] say about that.  When you hear more about this, pls let me know.”

However, a source told APN that they discussed the situation with Mitchell weeks ago.

Dave Walker, who ran for Council President in 2009, forcing Mitchell into a Run-off with former Councilwoman Clair Muller (District 8), and who has stated that he will run again in 2013, asked Bottoms about her plans for 2013 in public remarks made at the last Full Council Meeting as well.

“Councilwoman Lance Bottoms, your picture is in the paper every time I look up.  This past week, you were in the Business Chronicle.  My question to you, rhetorical, is are you running for something other than your Council seat?” Walker asked.

The mayor and Ceasar hate each other,” another source wrote.

“The mayor recently hosted a fundraiser for for Keisha earlier this month that netted her over $20,000 in campaign contributions.  They want to back her because they believe she can be easily controlled,” the source wrote.

“Cesar’s [sic] political operation is very weak as evidenced by his runoff victory against Clair Muller in 2009.  Clair Muller was only a district Councilmember representing the mostly white and wealthiest part of the city.  Ceasar, a young black male in a majority African-American city, had been a two-term citywide member of the council and should have easier beat her in the general, but did not.  His opponents see a weakness in his political operation and may exploit his shortcomings,” the source wrote.