Every time the City of Baltimore starts getting my hopes up that life will slowly start to improve there and corruption and crime are beginning to wane they somehow find a way to discourage me yet again. In this case, it’s the current state of the race to elect a new mayor. The current mayor, Jack Young, assumed office after his predecessor, Catherine Pugh, departed to embark on her new career as a prisoner after confessing to corruption and tax evasion charges. Young initially announced that he was only planning to be the interim mayor until he finished Pugh’s term this year, though he later said he would consider another term and still shows up in the polling.
Speaking of polling, that’s where the depressing news comes into play. The latest survey highlighted at the Baltimore Sun shows that the race is coming down to a three-way tie at the moment. It’s between former Obama Treasury official Mary Miller, City Council President Brandon Scott and… wait for it… former Mayor Sheila Dixon.
The contest to be the next mayor of Baltimore has come down to a three-way Democratic primary race between an experienced but controversial former mayor, a millionaire business executive and a youthful City Council president, according to a new poll for The Baltimore Sun, the University of Baltimore and WYPR-FM.
“It’s definitely a three-way race,” said Steve Raabe, president of OpinionWorks, the Annapolis-based firm that conducted the poll. “Sheila Dixon and Mary Miller are literally tied. Brandon Scott is right behind, but he’s a leading second choice. The three of them are really competitive.”
The poll of 400 likely Baltimore Democratic primary voters was conducted May 11-18. It has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.
If you follow Baltimore politics even slightly, the name of Sheila Dixon is probably ringing a bell. That’s because she was the other mayor of the city who was driven from office following a conviction on corruption charges. She was convicted of embezzlement roughly a decade ago. While the amount of money she stole paled in comparison to the cash that Catherine Pugh was hauling in, she made up for it with the fact that she was stealing gift cards intended for the poor.
And yet somehow, she’s tied for the lead to be elected back into office. The demographic breakdown of the poll is surprising as well. Dixon is the leader among Black voters, who make up a majority of Baltimore’s population, with 26% support while only 3% of white voters back her. By comparison, Miller is supported by 31% of white voters, but just 11% of Black voters.
Baltimore’s Black residents are the ones who bear the brunt of the city’s many ills, including an epidemic of gang violence and an economy that was already swirling near the drain even before the pandemic hit. These issues have plagued the city for years. And yet somehow they’re giving a serious look at putting a proven crook back into office?
If I could just address the voters of Baltimore for a moment here, I would repeat something that we’ve brought up on multiple occasions. Your city has been a disaster area for quite a while now. It’s one of the only major cities in the country that’s experiencing a net loss of population rather than growing, as so many residents who have the ability to flee for their lives are doing so. You’re bleeding off your population, both literally and figuratively. Things are never going to change if you keep electing the same corrupt cast of characters that you’ve been putting into office for decades.
If you actually turn around and reelect someone who has already proven themselves untrustworthy and dishonest, I don’t see how anyone can continue to have any sympathy for you. Baltimore was once a great and prosperous city with thriving industry and a good standard of living. It could be that way again someday. But not if you don’t start forcing that sort of change to happen when you go to the polls. You don’t want to elect Republicans. I get it. But you could at least try to dig up some honest Democrats and give them a chance.