Baltimore mayoral election, 2007

Baltimore mayoral election, 2007

The city of Baltimore held its mayoral election on November 6, 2007. Because Baltimore's electorate is overwhelmingly Democratic, Sheila Dixon's victory in the Democratic primary on September 11 all but assured her of victory in the general election [] , and she defeated Republican candidate Elbert Henderson in the general election by an overwhelming majority. Dixon, who as president of the Baltimore City Council became mayor in January 2007 when Martin O'Malley resigned to become Governor of Maryland, was the first woman to be elected to the office.

Background and candidates

Martin O'Malley, the winner of the previous mayoral election, was elected governor of Maryland in 2006. Therefore, city council president Sheila Dixon became mayor for the final year of what had been O'Malley's term, and subsequently ran for reelection to a full term. Other candidates for the Democratic nomination included city councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr.; Andrey Bundley, a former school administrator who was O'Malley's only major opponent for the Democratic nomination in 2003; Frank M. Conaway, Sr., the only person, other than Dixon, in the race to have won a city-wide election, who withdrew before the primary [ [,0,6716078.story?coll=bal-home-headlines Topic Galleries - ] ] , Maryland state delegate Jill P. Carter [] ; and perennial Baltimore-area candidate and social activist A. Robert Kaufman. Elbert Henderson was the sole candidate for the Republican nomination; he was the Republican nominee in the previous election, losing by a wide margin to O'Malley [,0,4636137.story?coll=bal-local-headlines 2007 city candidates set - ] ] [] . Kweisi Mfume, former Congressman and president of the NAACP, was at one point rumored to be considering a run [ [ Tom Moore: Mfume for … Baltimore City mayor - ] ] , but ultimately chose not to join the race. The Green Party did not nominate a mayoral candidate [ [ Baltimore Green Party ] ] .

Dixon had the advantage of incumbency, but Mitchell, who was seen as the mayor's most prominent opponent, hoped to overcome that advantage with a grassroots campaign [ [,0,2190324.story Topic Galleries - ] ] . The beginning of Dixon's term and campaign was dogged by an ethics investigation, although the city's Board of Ethics ultimately found no reason to prosecute her. [] An upsurge of violent crime in Baltimore during the first half of 2007 had an impact on early campaigning. Dixon launched a number of anti-crime initiatives, focusing on illegal guns [ [ Baltimore Mayor Unveils Strategy to Attack Increase in Gun Crime - New York Times ] ] . Mitchell's initial campaign moves focused on crime; Carter, criticizing Dixon's administration for what she called overzealous policing, promised a total revamp of the police department, stating that "if we had leadership in this city, we would have already changed police commissioners." The Baltimore police commissioner later resigned his post on July 19, in an act that some observers felt would affect the course of the race [] .

July 2007

With less than two months remaining before the Democratic primary, Carter officially announced her candidacy, and poll of likely Democratic voters commissioned by the "Baltimore Sun" showed Mayor Dixon holding a comfortable lead over her nearest challenger. The poll, released on July 16, 2007, had Dixon leading Councilman Mitchell with 47 percent of the likely primary voters to Mitchell's 15 percent. The rest of the field was in single digits, below the poll's margin of error, with 28 percent undecided. Although candidates would not be required to release fundraising numbers until August, Dixon was reported to have sizeable lead in this area as well [ [,0,6341243.story?coll=bal-home-headlines Dixon dominates field - ] ] [] .

August 2007

With little more than a month left until the primary election, Dixon further distanced herself from her primary opponents. On August 3, 2007, Mitchell's father resigned as treasurer of his son's mayoral campaign after it was discovered that he spent more than $40,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses [ [ Mitchell's Father Quits As Campaign Treasurer - Baltimore News Story - WBAL Baltimore ] ] . Despite this incident, Mitchell said that his campaign remained focused on the problems facing Baltimore City. Meanwhile, Carter focused her campaign on the impending 50% BGE rate hike calling for re-regulation, reforming public education, and effective policing, and restoring integrity to City Hall while contining her attack on Dixon by charging her with not showing at local political forums and for sending city employees in her stead. At a press conference outside City Hall, Carter and a campaign worker dressed in a yellow chicken suit handed out copies of a letter she sent to the State Ethics commission complaining about the practice. [ [ Carter: Mayor's staff at events - ] ]

Televised debate

On Monday night, August 27, 2007, all eight democratic candidates for Mayor appeared in a debate televised by Maryland Public Television and WBAL-TV. During his introduction, candidate Conaway announced that he was withdrawing from the race and throwing "his money and support" behind candidate Mitchell [] . The debate lasted fifty-five minutes with each candidate giving an opening and closing statement and answering questions posed by reporters in between. The debate was sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the Greater Baltimore Committee.


Baltimore's WJZ-TV reported that the Dixon campaign said that as of August 30th, it had more than $480,000 left to spend in the final two weeks before the September 11th Democratic primary. Carter's campaign reported having just over $8,000 on hand [ [ Campaign Finance Database - Summary report search results ] ] , and Bundley's campaign reported having $15,000 left as of the mid August 2007 campaign reporting date [ [ Campaign Finance Database - Summary report search results ] ] . Mitchell had just over $115,000 in cash on hand as of August 26. [ [ - Dixon Keeps Fundraising Lead With New Poll Ahead ] ]

eptember 2007

Just over a week before election day, a September 2 Baltimore Sun poll had Dixon maintaining her strong lead. According to the Sun, "Dixon leads City Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. by 46 percent to 19 percent - a 27 percentage-point spread - according to the poll conducted by OpinionWorks, an independent Annapolis-based firm." According to a number of experts, the race never really became competitive. Lenneal J. Henderson, a professor at the University of Baltimore's School of Public Affairs, said, "I think it is over. It would take a huge misstep on the part of Sheila Dixon for her not to win this one [ [,0,2074461.story Dixon keeps strong lead - ] ] ." Bundley (4%) and Carter (2%) showed no improvement over the previously released July poll.

Primary election: Dixon victory

On the night of the primary, less than three hours after the polls closed, Mitchell conceded defeat and Dixon claimed victory in the primary election.

Primary election results

These are the final, official results for the Democratic primary, as reported on the city of Baltimore's election board Web site [ [ City of Baltimore - Board of Elections] ] .


External links

* [,0,2190324.story City mayoral race begins to take shape] , "Baltimore Sun," November 9, 2006
* [ Mfume for … Baltimore City mayor] , "Baltimore Examiner," October 19, 2006
* [,0,893611.story?coll=bal-local-headlines Dixon's campaign leads in funding] "Baltimore Sun," November 14, 2006

Candidate Web sites

* [ Andrey Bundley official site]
* [ Jill Carter official site]
* [ Frank Conway official site]
* [ Sheila Dixon official site]
* [ Robert Kaufman myspace site]
* [ Keiffer Mitchell official site]
* [ Mike Schaefer official site]
* [ Michael Sarbanes official site]

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