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Campaign 2016

Politicsby Mark Reutter and Fern Shen11:35 pmApr 26, 20160

Pugh declares victory over Dixon in mayor’s race

State Senator Catherine Pugh beats former Mayor Sheila Dixon in the Democratic Primary. Other leading candidates – Embry, Warnock, Stokes and Mckesson – cumulatively gather 26% of the vote.

Above: Catherine Pugh speaks at a February candidate’s forum in Mt. Vernon. (Fern Shen)

WED. A.M. UPDATE: With 294 of 297 precincts reporting, Pugh has received 36.8% of the vote compared to 34.6% for Dixon.

Catherine Pugh went before the cameras tonight and, at 11:03 p.m., declared, “I am the Democratic nominee.” With not all ballots counted, Pugh has received 37% of the vote for mayor in the Democratic Party primary.

Her closest rival, former mayor Sheila Dixon, has 34% of the votes so far counted.

Pugh, in her third term in the Maryland Senate representing West Baltimore’s 40th District, ran twice for mayor in the past, losing to Dixon in 2007 and to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in 2011.

Elizabeth Embry, a former assistant state’s attorney, is in third place, with 11.9% of the votes counted.

Speaking to supporters tonight, Pugh credited her campaign with a come-from-behind victory over Dixon, who had led in the early polls.

“Nobody gave this campaign a chance,” Pugh said. “We couldn’t even get a campaign manager until February the 1st.”

Votes for three other mayoral candidates – financier David L. Warnock, City Councilman Carl Stokes and Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson – were all in the single digits.

Warnock – 8.1%
Stokes – 3.4%
Mckesson – 2.5%

Pugh stills face a Republican, Green Party and other challengers in November’s general election, but she is considered a shoo-in in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 10-1 margin.

Mayor Rawlings-Blake leaves office on December 5.

Wins for Young and Pratt

In other citywide elections, incumbents Bernard C. “Jack” Young and Joan M. Pratt were returned to office as City Council President and City Comptroller. They beat back challenges from political newcomers Kim Trueheart and Mike King.

Trueheart, an activist and recreation center advocate, won 31% of the vote despite minuscule fundraising and a refusal by Young to engage her in a public debate.

Pratt also refused to be on stage with King, a financial services manager who questioned her office’s lack of municipal auditing.

COUNCIL RACES: Two incumbents defeated

Two City Councilmen lost their jobs tonight.

Shannon Sneed decisively beat Warren Branch on the Eastside’s 13th District, while John T. Bullock is ahead of William “Pete” Welch on the Westside’s 9th District.

Other new faces on the Council are Zeke Cohen in the southeast’s 1st District, Ryan Dorsey in the northeast’s 3rd District, Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer in the northwest’s 5th District, and Kristerfer Burnett in the far southwest’s 8th District.

Leon F. Pinkett III, a longtime city development officer, defeated former state Delegate Shawn Z. Tarrant and nine others in the 7th District.

In the southwest’s 10th District, incumbent Edward Reisinger secured his position with a 37-34% win over Charlie Metz. In the near-northside’s 12th District, Robert Stokes Sr. edged out Kelly Cross.

In five other Council races, the incumbents won, in some cases by large margins.

Mary Pat Clarke swept to victory in the 14th District with about 90% of the Democratic primary vote, while Eric T. Costello registered a decisive win in the 11th District.

Two other big winners are Brandon M. Scott in the 2d District and Sharon Green Middleton in the 6th District.

In the 4th District, incumbent Bill Henry defeated challenger Brian W. Hammock.

Following the November general election, the new Council will be seated on December 5.

Kraft hangs on in Judges Race

In the election of judges for the Baltimore Circuit Court, the six incumbents, who formed the “Sitting Judges” slate, were far ahead of challengers James B. Kraft, who is retiring as a City Councilman, and Todd Oppenheim, a Baltimore public defender, in the Democratic Party Primary.

The victors on the Democratic side were Judges Audrey Carrion, Wanda Heard, Karen Friedman, Michael DiPietro, Cynthia Jones and Shannon Avery.

But it was a different story in the Republican Party Primary, where the sitting judges and challengers also ran on Tuesday.

Kraft, a long-time Democratic Party stalwart, narrowly defeated Judge Heard in that race. This will give him a berth on the general ballot as a candidate for judgeship in November.

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