Brandon Maurice Scott has won the Democratic mayoral primary, squeaking out a come-from-behind win over former mayor Sheila Dixon and leading the way for a younger, more reform-minded set of leaders to step into City Hall at a time of multiple challenges.
“Tonight we celebrate a hard-fought victory for the future of Baltimore,” Scott declared on Twitter shortly after the State Board of Elections released results that had him 2,358 votes – and 1.7 percentage points – ahead of Dixon.
With fewer than 2,000 votes remaining to be counted, the 36-year-old City Council President was virtually assured of a win.
Scott invoked his theme of racial equity and his cred as a lifelong resident as he addressed the city he will lead as its 52nd mayor if he prevails in the November 3 general election (a virtual certainty in deep-blue Baltimore).
“It will take all of us to build a city that is safe, equitable and accountable,” Scott said. “As a son of Baltimore, I could not be more honored to lead our great city in this critical moment and carry the work forward.”
Scott’s tweet tonight was accompanied by a bright-eyed campaign portrait, but just two days ago he had retweeted a digitally altered photo of himself made to look like a haggard old man.
Captioned “waiting on the results,” Scott’s comment was “accurate.”
Dixon took the lead in initial returns from the June 2 primary. Then as new results were released over the weekend, Scott began to close the gap, with votes being tallied from last-minute voters who had opted for the former Eastside councilman.
Dixon’s camp was quiet tonight, though she has said she had questions about the way the mostly-mail-in election was conducted.
Problems plaguing the primary included missing ballots, voters being given incorrect ballots, a printing error on 1st District ballots that required them to be manually re-done, the wrong date printed on the ballots and, at one point hours after the polls closed, returns simply wiped out from the website.
There were calls for Linda Lamone, the veteran administrator of the state elections board, to resign. The city director of elections, Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., came under criticism as well.
Dixon, 66, who resigned as mayor 10 years ago after being convicted of embezzlement and accepting a plea deal on perjury charges, was seen as the frontrunner coming into the election.
Dixon said she had learned from her mistakes and vowed to lower crime and be an effective manager of city government.
Henry and Mosby
Already claiming victory in the Comptroller’s race was a Scott ally, City Councilman Bill Henry.
Henry’s edge over incumbent Joan Pratt has been commanding, even in the initial returns. The latest returns show him more than 11,000 votes ahead of Pratt.
“This campaign was able to successfully reach the voters of Baltimore City with a simple, powerful message – after 24 years, it’s time for change,” Henry said in a statement.
Pratt released with a somewhat cryptic statement:
“I am grateful to god and blessed to have served the city of Baltimore for a generation. All is well. We look forward to our city re-opening and facing the challenges posed by the global pandemic. May god continue to bless us all.”
Another Scott ally, Shannon Sneed, did not prevail in her bid for City Council President, instead coming in second to state Delegate Nick Mosby.
Mosby held a solid initial lead, and in today’s tally held 40% of the votes counted. Sneed, who gave up a 13th District seat to run, had 29% of the votes as of tonight, and former Councilman Carl Stokes had 21%.
“THANK YOU, Baltimore!” his wife, State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, tweeted yesterday when his win became clear, adding, “#LetsGetToWork.”