Thursday, February 15, 2007

Campaign Season Comes to Baltimore

Things are shaping up so that we may actually have a real election season on our hands. Mayor Sheila Dixon faces a crowded field of challengers that includes realistic candidates like Councilmember Keiffer Mitchell. And Ken Harris is giving Council President Rawlings Blake a run for her money. Add to those citywide races council seats up for grabs.

Councilmember Paula Johnson Branch announced that she is leaving midterm to take a job in real estate, The Sun reports. Branch has been a fixture on the Council for over a decade and a half. Word is that aide Vernon E. Crider will take East Baltimore's 13th District seat until the September primary election.

Council also held hearings yesterday to fill Northwest's 6th District vacancy left by Stephanie Rawlings Blake, who became Council President in the domino effect set off by former Mayor O'Malley's election as governor. Ten applicants showed up to get a chance to sit on Council until the next election.

While Council is charged with finding replacements for the 6th and 13th districts, the choices will only be temporary. Both seats come up for election later on this year. And, in a solidly Democratic city like Baltimore, the winner of the September 11th primary elections is pretty much guaranteed a win in the November vote. But a temporary job is a huge boost for anyone hoping to win the seat electorally because incumbency is super important for local races that get very little attention.

The 4th District seat from North Baltimore is also in play because incumbent Ken Harris is leaving the seat to run for City Council President. And Keiffer Mitchell of the 11th, which includes diverse areas in central and southwest, is running for Mayor.

With so much going on, it seems like we could actually enjoy a campaign season this summer.

Are you an average Baltimorean? If so, you have absolutely no idea where most of these districts exist. Study it and impress your kids with a wealth of knowledge!)


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