Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Joe Biden and Keisha Lance Bottoms meet privately Tuesday after the president-elect spoke at a rally in Atlanta for Georgia's two Senate runoff election candidates. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden implored Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to accept a job heading the Small Business Administration earlier this week, a lesser position she rejected after he characterized it as “only the first step” for her during his presidency, according to people familiar with the discussion.

Why it matters: Biden has pledged to build a Cabinet reflecting America's diversity, but as the number of marquee slots has dwindled — and various constituencies keep clamoring for their own representatives — he is having trouble threading the political needle.

  • Lance Bottoms, a rising African American star and favorite of powerful Rep. James Clyburn, is open to serving in the Cabinet during his term if the role is right, one person told Axios.

Background: Bottoms’ allies describe her as a family-oriented politician — she has four young children — who’s weighing the massive lifestyle change a move to Washington, D.C. would require against the nature of the work she'd be undertaking.

  • While interested in small business development, leading a Cabinet-level agency like SBA was not the right fit for the chief executive of a major city — a position of considerable clout in the New South that Lance Bottoms loves, one person familiar with her thinking told Axios.
  • The Biden transition did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Driving the news: Biden privately met face-to-face with Lance Bottoms when he visited Georgia on Tuesday to campaign for Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the two Democratic candidates in pivotal Jan. 5 runoff elections that could flip the Senate majority.

  • During the rally in Atlanta, during which Lance Bottoms sat on stage, Biden said, "Let’s hear it for Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, the best in the business. Had my back early in this whole deal."
  • Their one-on-one meeting was under an hour and initiated by Biden. It took place outside after the rally, behind the stage.
  • The two had been on stage with Ossoff, Warnock and Stacey Abrams. When the rally finished, Abrams, Warnock and Ossoff were ushered in one direction —and the president-elect and Bottoms in another.
  • While Biden tried to sell SBA to Bottoms as a stepping stone to greater aspirations — he characterized the role as "only the first step" for her on his team — but Bottoms declined, as she had previously to his representatives, one person said.
  • Despite talk that Lance Bottoms had also turned down the ambassadorship to the Bahamas, the SBA job is the only position she’s been offered so far, one person close to the mayor told Axios.
  • This person said Bottoms’ options for a career beyond mayor are open, and hinted at a potential statewide race in her future, depending on how Georgia's Senate and gubernatorial contests shake out.

Lance Bottoms is viewed as a rising star within the Democratic Party, presiding over a large city that’s been rocked by COVID and racial injustice this past year.

  • Biden considered her as his running mate before settling on Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
  • Lance Bottoms also is close to Clyburn, the Democrat who helped deliver pivotal South Carolina for Biden. Clyburn advocated for Lance Bottoms as Biden's running mate, casting her as a “tremendous” pick.

Be smart: Lance Bottoms also was seen as a good candidate to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development because of her work leading the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ efforts on the census and housing policy.

  • Biden picked Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), who had the strong backing of the Congressional Black Caucus, for that Cabinet job.

Go deeper

Jon Ossoff wins Georgia runoff, clinching Democratic control of Senate

Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Democrat Jon Ossoff has defeated former Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in Georgia's runoff race for the U.S. Senate, AP projected Wednesday.

Why it matters: The projected victory came hours after Rev. Raphael Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler and officially secures Democratic control of the Senate. The 50-50 split means that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tie-breaking vote after Jan. 20.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
33 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!