As he drives through the Remington community near Druid Hill Park, Anthony Armstrong sees a wave of red and white banners. To the man responsible for plastering campaign signs for Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke all over town, this is not pretty.
The red and white signs tout Mary Pat Clarke's candidacy for mayor in Tuesday's primary election. Nowhere in sight are the familiar red, black and green placards of Mr. Schmoke's campaign.
"We want to make a dent in this community," Mr. Armstrong says from the wheel of his four-wheel drive vehicle. "We want to have more visibility. We want to establish a beachhead."
As a major cog in the Schmoke campaign's often unnoticed operation and technical staff, Mr. Armstrong's foremost duty is to get Mr. Schmoke's name seen in as many pockets of the city as possible.
In fact, he wants to see the mayor's name or smiling face on every front lawn, store window and vacant space.
For example, he traveled to Grove Park, Hampden, Remington and Rosemont during a two-hour span last week to deliver lawn signs to residents who had requested them and to see where more signs are needed.
In Rosemont, a predominantly black community, Schmoke signs dotted many lawns and windows. However, in Hampden, a mostly white neighborhood, no Schmoke signs were visible. That would soon change.
"But you'd be surprised to see how much support we have in Hampden; people just don't want to have our signs out," Mr. Armstrong said. "There may be signs for other candidates, but we are very strong here."
Since he joined the Schmoke campaign in March, Mr. Armstrong has placed more than 7,000 lawn signs and 3,000 window placards throughout Baltimore.
And he's still at it.
"We'll keep going strong until the election is over," said Mr. Armstrong, 24, who is one of the campaign's 15 paid workers in addition to its more than 200 volunteers.
For the past three months, Mr. Armstrong has worked at least 12 hours a day and logged more than 150 miles daily in trips to every hamlet of the city. Some residents have told him to beat it; others have welcomed him.
But he tries to be courteous to everyone because he represents the mayor.
Mr. Armstrong has worked on each of Mr. Schmoke's mayoral campaigns, the first two as a volunteer. He recently graduated from Northwestern University and plans to attend law school.
At a house on Belle Avenue in Grove Park, Michael Livers eagerly watched as Mr. Armstrong placed a sign on his front lawn.
"I'm proud to have that sign on my lawn," Mr. Livers said. "He's the best person for Baltimore."
After a brief chat, Mr. Armstrong was off again. There was another wave of red and white signs a couple of blocks away.