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Campaign 2020

Politicsby Fern Shen8:35 pmNov 19, 20190

Mary Washington enters race for Baltimore mayor

Progressive city senator joins an increasingly crowded field

Above: Mary Washington in 2016 at a memorial for the victims of a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. (Fern Shen)

Senator Mary L. Washington, the 43rd District Democrat whose progressive stances have endeared her to the party’s left wing but sometimes left her outside the Annapolis mainstream, is planning to run for mayor of Baltimore.

Washington will announce her candidacy for Mayor on a multi-stop tour of the city, tentatively scheduled to start at the Northeast Market at 7:35 a.m. and conclude at Stadium Place at 5.p.m.

The main campaign announcement and rally will be held at 4 p.m. at Thanksgiving Place, at 900 East 33rd Street, campaign manager Mark McLaurin said, in an emailed release.

Washington’s declaration comes as the front runner, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, has made a series of gaffes and the other high-profile candidate, City Council President Brandon Scott, has failed to ignite much early excitement.

Backers say Washington will position herself as the candidate who can bring fresh ideas and clean government to a city still reeling from police misconduct and a City Hall corruption scandal, not to mention another year of violence and 300-plus homicides.

“She thinks there’s a real appetite out there now for a true leader,” one supporter said. “Somebody you can get behind without reservation, instead of a strategic vote that’s all about about the lesser of two evils.”

Comparing War Chests

Washington comes to the race at a distinct disadvantage financially.

Young has already amassed a campaign war chest of about $900,000, including $250,000 his treasurer said was raised last month, and hopes to reach the low seven digits by January.

Scott, whose latest campaign report showed over $143,000 in his treasury, is holding a fundraiser at the Baltimore Museum of Industry tonight.

By contrast, the most recent cash total on file for “People Uniting to Elect Mary Washington” stands at $34,330.

Recent contributions come primarily from small individual donors, but also include transfers from PACs representing realtors and other groups, as well as unions including MSEA, LIUNA and AFSCME.

Washington has beaten the odds before, though. Most notably in the 2018 primary, when she narrowly defeated the better-funded, longtime occupant of the 43th Senate seat, Joan Carter Conway.

Legislative Record

First elected to the House of Delegates in 2010, the former Baltimore Housing CitiStat director went on to serve two terms, seeing some of her high-profile legislation die in the Senate.

Upon reaching the Senate last January, Washington continued to push on her issues with some success, including the Water Taxpayer Protection Act. Her work on consumer and justice legislation earned her a 2019 “Legislative Achievement” award from the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition.

But she also found herself at times outside the majority.

She and 41st District Senator Jill P. Carter, for example, were the lone votes against the bill allowing Johns Hopkins University to set up its own police force in Baltimore.

Other announced candidates in the Democratic primary for mayor include former Maryland Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah and former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith.

Dante Swinton, Carlmichael “Stokey” Cannady and Rikki Vaughan are among the other candidates in the race.

Among the Republicans running in an overwhelmingly Democratic Party city are Catalina Byrd, Shannon Wright, David Anthony Wiggins and William G. Herd.

The Democratic and Republican primaries will both be held on April 28, 2020.

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