ATLANTA (CBS46)—It is official. Former Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced he is running to become Atlanta’s next mayor.
A spokesperson affiliated with the former mayor confirmed Reed made the announcement Thursday night at his 52nd birthday celebration.
Several high-profile Atlantans attended Reed's bash, including actor and singer Tyrese. In an Instagram post on Thursday night, Tyrese said the former mayor’s campaign raised $600,000 in 48 hours. CBS46 has not been able to independently confirm Reed’s fundraising totals.
In the RSVP for Reed’s birthday bash, his camp asked for campaign contributions from attendees in the amounts of (Host) $25,000 and (Guest) $1,000. The invitation also said $4,300 is the maximum contribution amount.
Reed’s Thursday night announcement did not surprise many. For weeks there was speculation that he was going to enter the race after Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she was not seeking a second term.
On Tuesday, Reed filed official campaign finance paperwork which further fueled speculation of Reed’s pending announcement.
Political observers noted Reed’s tenure was filled with controversies. His former top aide, Mitzi Bickers was indicted on bribery charges. Also, his former deputy chief of staff, Evelyn Katrina Taylor-Parks, was sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to accept bribe payments. Additionally, his former chief financial officer, Jim Beard, was indicted on wire fraud and gun charges. Before leaving office, several citizens were alarmed to learn Reed gave top staffers bonuses totaling $500,000.00.
Reed’s opponents are certain to make the controversies surrounding the formal mayor a political issue in the upcoming election.
Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore was one of the first candidates to announce her candidacy.
City Councilmember Andre Dickens also put his name in the race. Anticipating former Mayor Reed’s announcement, Dickens issued the following statement: “I sponsored and passed the toughest anti-corruption legislation in Atlanta's history, banning credit card spending on things like alcohol, airfare, dry cleaning, and personal vehicle repairs. This was needed because of the rampant abuses in the former mayor's administration. Corruption is Crime. When I meet with everyday Atlantans working to make our city better, what I hear is that people are ready to move forward and want to turn the page on that corrupt past. The time is now."
In addition, Atlanta attorney Sharon Gay joined the mayoral race and said in a statement before Reed’s Thursday night announcement: “Kasim Reed’s tenure as Mayor was stained by municipal corruption, ethical violations and a federal investigation that to this day impedes Atlanta from moving forward. I will not be distracted by his side show. I will stay focused on addressing the pressing issues we face today, particularly public safety, crime, and improving all of Atlanta's neighborhoods. I am confident that the residents of Atlanta feel the same way. As my campaign reaches out to every corner of Atlanta, I will present the fresh, smart, competent, and honest approach to addressing past and present issues that I am proposing for our city’s future.”
City Councilmember Antonio Brown also announced his candidacy.
Atlanta voters will cast their ballots on November 2, 2021.