The 2016 mayor’s race just got a lot more interesting. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won’t seek re-election. Rawlings-Blake said she began to organize a campaign, but said it was taking too much time away from duties to run the city as it recovers from the April unrest that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral, and prepares for the trials of the officers who are accused in Gray’s death.
“I realized that every moment that I spent planning for a campaign and a re-election was time that I was taking away from current responsibility to the city, to the city I love, and a city that I took an oath to serve,” she said. “And because of that I’ve made the decision not to seek re-election.”
Rawlings-Blake said she had more money in the bank than other potential challengers, and believed she could win the mayor’s race despite a list of competition that already includes former mayor Sheila Dixon, State Sen. Catherine Pugh, City Councilman Carl Stokes and another several hopefuls including Nick Mosby and author Wes Moore.
“It was a very difficult decision, but I knew that I needed to spend the remaining 15 months of my term focused on the city’s future and not my own,” she said.
Rawlings-Blake said she is also looking forward to spending more time with her daughter, Sophia, as she enters her teen years.
Asked by Jayne Miller if the decision made her a lame duck, Rawlings-Blake said, “I have chosen to govern rather than campaign, and I hope the public sees it that way.” While she’s not running next year, Rawlings-Blake didn’t close the door to a future campaign.
Rawlings-Blake, 45, entered city politics as a member of the City Council at age 25. She later won election to become City Council President and became mayor following Sheila Dixon’s conviction for misusing gift cards.
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