City Councilman Carl Stokes said Tuesday afternoon that he still had not decided whether to run for mayor, as the deadline to file for city office looms this evening.

"I still haven't made up my mind," said Stokes. "There are a lot of people in the race."


Five candidates have filed to challenge Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in the Democratic primary in September: former city planning director Otis Rolley, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, Clerk of Courts Frank M. Conaway, former city councilman Joseph T. "Jody" Landers and Wilton Wilson, a home health care nurse. Vicki Ann Harding is the lone Republican to file.

The deadline to file for all city campaigns is 9 p.m. this evening.

Stokes said the plethora of challengers could stymie efforts to unseat Rawlings-Blake, which he said was paramount.

"We need to have a unified voice vis a vis the present administration, the present direction we're going in," he said. "It's better if there is one voice of opposition."

Stokes said he was contemplating running for his seat representing the council's 12th District or devoting himself to opening more charter schools. Stokes was part of a team that founded the Bluford Drew Jemison STEM Academy a few years ago.

Stokes dismissed rumors that he might run for the council presidency.

"I would never do that," he said. "[Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young] is my friend."

Stokes said he would continue weighing his options throughout the afternoon.

"What's the best win for the city, not just Carl?" he said.