Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake leads the money race against potential future political opponents with more than $350,000 on hand, a review of the most recent campaign finance reports shows.
Rawlings-Blake, who is up for re-election in November 2016, raised about $15,000 in the most recent reporting period, which ran from June 9 to Aug. 19. The filings were due Aug. 26.
While potential mayoral contenders are keeping their plans close to the vest, political observers say the filings reveal others who might be considering a run for the city's top elected post.
Challengers could include City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who has about $340,000, former Mayor Sheila Dixon, who has $280,000; and state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh, who has $120,000 on hand.
The filings, required by the State Board of Elections, are an accounting of how much prospective candidates raise or spend and do not require them to declare what office they might seek.
Even with a full war chest, challengers would have a tough time facing Rawlings-Blake, said Nina Kasniunas, an assistant professor of political science at Goucher College.
"Love her or hate her," Kasniunas said, "she has name recognition unlike anyone else."
Young, who won his first citywide campaign in 2011 after 15 years on the council, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. He has acknowledged briefly considering a run for mayor, but hasn't spoken publicly about such a desire in years.
His post has been a stepping stone for five of the city's past seven mayors. Besides Rawlings-Blake and Dixon, they are Thomas D'Alesandro III, William Donald Schaefer and Clarence H. Du Burns.
Dixon, who resigned as mayor after being convicted of stealing gift cards meant for low-income families, declined to say whether she would try to win back her old job, but she wouldn't rule it out.
"You never say never," Dixon said Thursday.
Dixon was cleared to seek elected office after settling the criminal case connected to the embezzlement charges and completing probation.
Dixon's latest filing, submitted in January, reported that she had $280,000 in the bank. She said she now has less than that, but wasn't sure of the exact balance. Dixon said she plans to meet with her treasurer soon and submit an updated filing.
Late filings cost $20 a day for the first six days and $10 a day after that with a penalty of up to $250.
Pugh came in second behind Rawlings-Blake in the 2011 Democratic mayoral primary with 25 percent of the vote to Rawlings-Blake's 52 percent. Pugh did not return a request seeking comment for this article.
Pugh reported about $18,000 in new contributions for the latest disclosure period, including $500 from a city firefighters union, $500 from Comcast Corp. PAC and $2,000 from B.U.I.L.D., a construction industry trade group.
Young took in about $14,000, including $300 from BWI Management LLC, $500 from Baltimore Steel Erectors LLC of White Marsh and $500 from Beatty Harvey and Associates of New York, one of the firms working on the Harbor Point development.
Of the three potential contenders, Dixon has done the most to signal an interest in competing for the mayor's office, with regular appearances at community events, Kasniunas said. "It's an indication that she's testing the water."
Whether best-selling author Wes Moore will run for mayor has been the subject of wide speculation. Moore, a Rhodes scholar and military veteran, has said he has no intention of running for office and did not report raising any campaign funds to the State Board of Elections.