Atlanta mayor speaks openly about historic election, being on short list for VP

Sen. Kamala Harris made history Wednesday night becoming the first black woman to accept a major party’s nomination for vice president.

But before Harris was picked as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Atlanta’s own mayor was on the short list for that position.

Channel 2′s Lori Wilson spoke with Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms about the phone call she had with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden just hours before he made his historic announcement.

“You know, I was actually a little more disappointed than I thought that I would be,” Bottom said. “Nobody else believed that I was on the short list. I was indeed on the short list.”

After months of speculation and vetting, Bottoms can now be open about just how close she came.

“I would watch on television and all of the speculation and I would think, ‘Oh they’re so wrong. They have no idea what’s going on in this process,’ because I was having my interviews and turning in documents and I had interviewed with him the Saturday before,” Bottoms said.

Bottoms endorsed Biden very early on, has been on the national stage consistently this year dealing with protests after the death of George Floyd, the pandemic, and at times, very vocally at odds with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp -- all stories that were covered by national media.

For Bottoms, having her name on the VP short list spoke volumes about Atlanta.

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“Just the fact that a mayor of Atlanta could be on the short list for vice president of the United States really speaks to our standing globally and the value that so many people see in our city,” Bottoms said.

Atlanta and Georgia have been featured prominently this week during the Democratic National Convention.

“When you see Georgia highlighted, you see recognition of what we could possibly mean to this election in November,” Bottoms said.

It’s an election that Bottoms said she will continue to work to help Biden and Harris win.

For her, not being picked is not a loss, instead an unforgettable and rare gift.

“It was an incredible process to be a part of just from the historical aspect of it. How many Americans have actually gone through a vice presidential vet?” Bottoms said. “You know, one of those moments, personally, something that was an experience that I will always remember.”

Bottoms is scheduled to speak at the DNC on Thursday night. She said her speech will have a heavy focus on the life and legacy of Rep. John Lewis.