Baltimore mayoral candidates turn up the heat on their campaign trails

By Sophie Foster

Opinion Editor

The 2024 Baltimore mayoral race would be a better reality drama than “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” if it did not have such concerning implications about present sociopolitical realities.

At present, there are five contenders for the office, including incumbent Mayor Brandon Scott. However, in an uncommon reality, Scott finds reelection unlikely as he faces up against former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

According to a Goucher College poll released in partnership with The Baltimore Banner, 56% of polled voters disapprove of Scott, and 39% agreed that they would vote instead for Dixon, who is running on her third bid for the office. For context, only 27% said they would likely vote for Scott.

This is particularly indicative of the public’s distrust in Scott, because Dixon, who first took up the office in 2007, was removed as mayor following a 2010 misdemeanor conviction for using gift cards that were meant for those in need, according to CBS News.

It is likely that this turn away from the incumbent candidate is rooted in the widescale belief among the polled that crime, litter, and unaffordable housing are all pressing issues for the city that Scott has failed to adequately address. This coupled with the fact that Dixon was only two points away from securing the office over Scott in 2020 makes the status of the race today pretty clear.

Democrats, who compose the majority of voters in Baltimore City, view Dixon as “more competent in key issues like managing city agencies, working with private industry to improve the economy, reducing crime, improving public education[,] and attracting city residents,” according to CBS News.

“Incumbency comes with immense power but also accountability,” Director of the Goucher Poll Mileah Kromer said for Maryland Matters. “Given the frustrations over crime and city services expressed by voters, it’s not surprising that both Mayor Brandon Scott and City Council President Nick Mosby are facing tough reelection contests from viable challengers.”

According to Kromer, voters should watch electoral dynamics, wait to see if other high-quality candidates toss their hats in the ring, and see if incumbents can improve public standing.

This conflict is, in some ways, a good thing. It means voters are endeavoring to think critically about their electoral choices, and seeking out candidates with policies genuinely reflective of their viewpoints. That is an important mentality to hold onto in a country where blind votes are so often cast for incumbents in a reach for status quo maintenance.

Baltimore can, should, and probably will elect a mayor intent on bettering the city. Whether that candidate is Scott, Dixon, or someone else is yet to be seen.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo caption: Incumbent Mayor of Baltimore Brandon Scott finds his position at risk this election.

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