Keisha Lance Bottoms and Stacey Abrams spent years climbing parallel ladders at Atlanta City Hall and the Georgia Capitol.
ATLANTA (AP)- Keisha Lance Bottoms, the 50-year-old Atlanta mayor, is a top surrogate for Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. Stacey Abrams is the 46-year-old voting rights activist who nearly became the first black female governor in American history. Now, the pair occupy the same political intersection: Biden’s list of potential running mates.
That potential has highlighted the different styles of the two lawyers-turned-politicians. Abrams embraces the possibility of the vice presidency and, already having acknowledged her own presidential aspirations, openly touts how she’d help Biden win and govern. Bottoms, while not sidestepping the talk, play the more traditional role of loyal party lieutenant.
“I see them leading in very different ways because of the positions they hold, and I adore them both,” said state party chairwoman Nikema Williams. It’s “inspiring” to watch “two black women from the South be elevated.”
In separate Associated Press interviews, Abrams declared Bottoms an “extraordinary” mayor and called herself “proud to be an Atlanta citizen under her leadership,” while the mayor praised Abrams’ “authentic leadership,” especially on behalf of underrepresented voters.
Unquestionably the more widely known of the two, Abrams has floated as a presidential candidate herself after her unsuccessful 2018 governor’s bid. She parlayed that narrow loss into an invitation to deliver the 2019 response to President Donald Trump‘s State of the Union address. Throughout 2019, she was a regular stop on Democratic contenders’ visits to Georgia.
In recognition of Biden’s stature as former vice president, Abrams visited him in Washington last year, but she didn’t endorse until May 12, well after Biden emerged as the presumptive nominee.
Bottoms, meanwhile, was among Biden’s earliest endorsers. She recalled writing in a leather-bound campaign journal, “I feel vulnerable,” having declared loyalties among such a crowded field. That shouldn’t be confused with regret, she said, citing Biden’s “experience and the goodness of who he is.”
Asked what she’d bring to the ticket, Bottoms, a former judge and city councilor, noted that she’s served in each branch of government, with her executive tenure overlapping with a massive cyberattack on city government’s technology infrastructure and now the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Abrams remains a favorite of many progressive activists, Bottoms has gotten a prominent mention from influential black leaders like House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, who is close to Biden, and Biden campaign co-chairman Cedric Richmond.