Sen. Washington to Announce Bid for Baltimore Mayor Wednesday

Sen. Mary L. Washington (D) will announce Wednesday that she's running for mayor of Baltimore. File photo

In a development that will shake up Baltimore City’s rapidly changing political dynamic, state Sen. Mary L. Washington (D) plans to announce her candidacy for mayor on a multi-stop tour of the city Wednesday.

The formal announcement will take place at 4 p.m. at Thanksgiving Place in the Waverly neighborhood, site of the former Memorial Stadium. But Washington’s stumping will begin early in the morning and will extend until evening.

Washington joins a growing field of Democratic candidates that includes Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who ascended to the top job in May following the resignation of former mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D); City Council President Brandon M. Scott; and attorney Thiru Vignarajah. Former mayor Sheila Dixon may also enter the race.

Most political professionals believe it’s a two-way race — between Young and Scott — unless Dixon enters the fray. All three political leaders are fairly well known among regular Democratic voters — far more so than Washington. But Washington advisers say they’ve seen recent polling that suggests she has a path to victory.

Washington showed formidable political skills in 2018, when, as a two-term state delegate running against most of the political establishment, she ousted Sen. Joan Carter Conway, a powerful committee chairwoman, in the Democratic primary in the Northeast Baltimore 43rd District.

In her first year in the state Senate, Washington was a fierce critic of legislation to permit Johns Hopkins University to create a private police force — a position that won her loyal fans but may not play well with the overall electorate if crime is the principal issue of the mayoral election.

Washington’s place in a Democratic primary with three or four leading contenders is hard to pinpoint. She’d be the most progressive candidate in the field, potentially cutting into Scott’s support. She could benefit as the only woman in the race — but that position could be undercut if Dixon gets in.

Washington would be the most reform-minded candidate in the field, and the candidate most likely to win support from white progressives. But her ability to compete in a citywide campaign against well-known politicians remains to be seen.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Washington’s campaign schedule for Wednesday was:

7:35-8:15 a.m.

Northeast Market, 2101 East Monument St.

9:15-9:45 am

Washington will be interviewed on Larry Young’s morning show on WOLB Radio

10:30-11:15 am

Garrett Park Brooklyn Boys and Girls Club, 3560 3rd St.

12:30-1:30 p.m.

Lexington Market, 400 West Lexington St., Washington and supporters will tour Lexington Market and greet customers and vendors (and eat lunch).

2:30-3 p.m.

Mondawmin Mall, 2401 Liberty Heights Ave.

4-4:45 p.m.

Thanksgiving Place, 900 E. 33rd St., Washington will declare her candidacy and make formal remarks and rally with supporters

5-6 p.m.

Stadium Place, 1050 E. 33rd St.

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Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.