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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Off to the Races: An Overview of the Baltimore Mayoral Election

Abby Benner

The Baltimore mayoral election is beginning to heat up as 17 candidates move onto the primary election. The vote will take place on May 14 and determine who will move on to represent the Democratic and Republican parties in the general election.

There are currently 13 Democrat candidates running for election.  Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott is fending off challenges from former Mayor Sheila Dixon and past mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah. Previously in the 2020 mayoral election, Brandon Scott, Sheila Dixon, and Thiru Vignarajah ran against one another with Scott taking the lead and winning the election.

Baltimore’s last Republican mayor was Theodore McKeldinin in 1967. Mayoral candidates Michael Moore, Donald E. Scoggins, and Shannon Wright represent the Republican party in the primary election.

The current Mayor of Baltimore City Brandon M. Scott is running for reelection on a platform that includes building public safety, equitable neighborhood development, and prioritizes Baltimore’s young people. Vignarajah is running for the mayoral title for a second time and his campaign is focused on ending the bloodshed as well as recovery to prosperity. Furthermore, he’s promoting education for all, a Marshall plan to fix city schools, and a more perfect union plan to ensure equity in every zip code.

This will be Dixon’s third time running for the Democratic nomination since serving as mayor of Baltimore City in 2007. In 2009, she was convicted of embezzlement over the misuse of $500 worth of gift cards. AP News reports that Dixon resigned as part of a 2010 plea agreement, served four years of probation and was barred from running for a political office for two years.

Baltimore residents such as retired gardener Irene Kummer find Dixon’s lack of ownership toward the scandal to be off putting and plans to cast her vote elsewhere.

“She stole gift cards that were meant for the poor and she stole a lot of them. She used them for herself and her friends. Every time I heard her being interviewed and I heard her interview on Tom Hall and he said ‘We need to talk about this’ and she said ‘Mistakes were made’ not ‘I was greedy,” Kummer said.

Dixon has touted her efforts to reduce violent crime, pave roads, and clean up neglected neighborhoods. The city’s homicide rate dropped during her tenure, while arrests also declined. As of 2023, Baltimore City experienced a 21% drop in homicides. Comcast Senior Executive Steve Evans says he is happy that Dixon is running for reelection after her loss in the 2020 mayoral race.

“In the past, Sheila did a good job in West Baltimore when she had an officer on every corner on popular roads. I distinctly remember that and I was like ‘Wow, okay ’. They were on foot, walking around. They were not just walking around to aggravate citizens, but to get to know folks. That type of policing was good,” Evans said.

The Baltimore area has an abundance of air pollution due to industry, power plants, and greater population density in and around Baltimore City. White Hat Lobbyist Dru Schmidt-Perkins believes that neighborhoods deserve more attention and to have their issues understood by companies such as the Wheelabrator Incinerator and Vaughn Greene Funeral Services developing a crematorium on York Road.

“They’re going to build a crematorium right in our neighborhood. That’s ridiculous. The zoning should not have allowed that. The zoning should be changed. The mayor should have stood up for the neighborhood down in Annapolis when legislation was going through. All the candidates should since this is inappropriate,” Schmidt-Perkins said.

Samantha Jones

Baltimore City continues to be suffering from the longstanding consequences of redlining. Baltimore neighborhoods that were previously redlined have lower rates of homeownership, worse health outcomes, and higher levels of poverty. Schmidt-Perkins hopes that whoever wins the mayoral race will support and invest in the neighborhoods.

“I hope they help neighborhood streets like York Road and focus on that, rather than trying to get a big, new business in town. I hope they support the small businesses and allow these communities to thrive,” Schmidt-Perkins said.

This is the third in a four part series about the 2024 election season. The fourth and final part of the series will be continued by Samuel Gibbs.

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