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Mfume rumored to be contemplating run for mayor

Less than five months before the primary election for Baltimore's mayoral race, the rumors are flying that former congressman Kweisi Mfume is planning to run for the city's highest office.

Sources say that Mfume, the former president of the NAACP, has been arranging meetings with city leaders, including former mayor Sheila Dixon, to discuss a possibly candidacy.

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Mfume said he was "not considering anything yet."

"I love this city and I pay attention to how things shake out," he said. He said he had not spoken with Dixon about entering the mayor's race.

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"Sheila and I talk from time to time and there's really nothing beyond that," he said. "There's really nothing to report yet."

The Afro first reported last month that Mfume planned to step down in June as the CEO of the National Medical Association, a position he has held for about a year.

"I agreed to come on board for a year or so to help position the organization with the roll-out of the medical reform act," he said. "It's been over a year, so I decided to move on. I gave 90 days notice, but I said I'd stay on longer if they needed me."

Mfume, regarded as gifted orator, will deliver a eulogy at the funeral of William Donald Schaefer next week. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and longtime Schaefer aide Lainy Lebow-Sachs will also eulogize the former mayor, governor and state comptroller.

Political insiders say that Mfume could mount a formidable challenge to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who was elevated into office last year after Dixon resigned.

The five-term congressman would bring considerably more name-recognition and fundraising power to the race than the other declared and likely candidates, who include former city planning director Otis Rolley, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, City Councilman Carl Stokes, Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors vice-president Joseph T. "Jody" Landers and Clerk of Courts Frank Conaway Sr.

This is far from the first time Mfume has been rumored to be making a bid for the city's highest office.

In 2007, a year after Mfume lost a bid for senator to Benjamin Cardin, the rumors that Mfume would run reached a fever pitch, but Mfume opted out.

"Every four years, there's some sort of speculation," said Mfume, speaking by phone from Camden Yards, where, with his grandson on his lap, he was watching the Orioles play.

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