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Campaign 2016

Politicsby Mark Reutter9:15 amOct 10, 20160

EXCLUSIVE: Sheila Dixon plans write-in campaign for mayor

Former mayor expected to provide more details at announcement tomorrow

Above: Sheila Dixon draws a crowd at a July 2015 appearance. (Fern Shen)

Baltimore’s former mayor, Sheila Dixon, has told close associates that she intends to run as a write-in candidate for mayor in the November 8 general election.

Dixon plans to announce her candidacy tomorrow morning after filing paperwork at the city Board of Elections. (The election board is closed today for Columbus Day.)

Reached last night, Dixon did not deny her write-in bid, saying, “I am not going to be discussing that today. If you want to reach out to me on Tuesday, that’s fine.”

It is unclear how much a Dixon write-in, rumored for weeks but taking on concrete form this weekend, will change the sleepy dynamics of Baltimore’s mayoral election.

The Democratic Party candidate, state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, had been relying on the overwhelming number of registered Democratic voters to coast to victory against Republican Alan Walden and Green Party candidate Joshua Harris.

Pugh has laid off her campaign staff, ended the lease on her main campaign office and has been preparing for her presumed mayoralty with a transition team led by former Baltimore County executive James T. Smith Jr.

Contested Primary Results

Dixon’s planned write-in would rekindle the fierce rivalry between the former mayor, who resigned from office in 2010 following her conviction of one count of misappropriation of gift cards, and the West Baltimore state senator.

Dixon lost to Pugh by less than 3 percentage points in a crowded field of candidates.

The April 26 primary was marred by various irregularities, including precinct stations that opened late and election board judges that failed to show up.

The Maryland Board of Elections took the unprecedented step of decertifying the primary results until officials conducted a review of the ballots and made adjustments. The review added a few more votes for Dixon, but did not change the primary’s outcome.

In June, Dixon allies filed a federal lawsuit calling for the primary results to be tossed out and new elections conducted. The suit has not yet moved forward in the court system.

By filing so late, Dixon’s name will not appear on the ballot. Instead, voters will have to print her name on the ballot and fill in the nearby oval in order for the vote to be counted.

Early voting for the election begins in less than three weeks on October 27.

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