A former top official at the U.S. Treasury Department during the Obama administration is poised to make a late entry into the Baltimore mayoral election, Maryland Matters has learned.
Mary J. Miller, who had a long career in finance at T. Rowe Price in Baltimore, is sending out invitations for a “Celebration of Baltimore” Tuesday evening at the Museum of Industry.
But according to four sources, Miller is announcing her plans to join the already crowded Democratic primary for mayor. She has already begun assembling a campaign team, which will be led by Ann Beegle, a one-time top aide to former Baltimore County executive Jim Smith (D) who is also the former executive director of the Maryland Democratic Party.
Beegle, who led Baltimore’s celebration of the War of 1812 bicentennial celebration, told friends of her new job in a mass email obtained by Maryland Matters.
Miller, who lives in the Guilford neighborhood, was the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for Domestic Finance. In that role, she was responsible for developing and coordinating Treasury’s policies and guidance in the areas of financial institutions, federal debt financing, financial regulation, and capital markets.
Before that, Miller served as assistant secretary of the Treasury for Financial Markets, where she advised the secretary on matters of domestic finance, financial markets, federal, state and local finance, and federal government lending policies. In this role, she was also responsible for Treasury’s management of the public debt.
Prior to joining the Obama administration, Miller spent 26 years working for T. Rowe Price Group, Inc., where she was the director of the Fixed Income Division and a member of the firm’s Management Committee.
Miller, who is in her ’60s, is currently a senior fellow at The Johns Hopkins University 21st Century Cities Initiative and a trustee of the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. She and her husband James Dabney Miller, an attorney and faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, have two grown sons.
In her email, Beegle cited a New Republic article from 2011 that referred to Miller as one of the most powerful but least famous people in Washington, D.C.
“This seems to sum up how I have found her to be — deeply connected to others who are passionate about getting things done, and humble in her approach,” Beegle wrote.
It isn’t quite clear how viable a candidate a political novice like Miller would be in a crowded Democratic field that includes Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City Council President Brandon M. Scott, former mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Mary L. Washington, former assistant attorney general Thiru Vignarajah, and former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith. She would be the first white candidate of any stature in the race, which is not insignificant in a race with so many prominent candidates of color.
But ever since former mayor Martin J. O’Malley (D) won reelection in 2003, white candidates have fared poorly in citywide elections. Whether Miller has political chops, a fundraising apparatus or personal funds to spare is completely unknown.