Mary Pat Clarke ran a spirited, energetic, enticing and surprisingly effective campaign for mayor that embodied the very reasons Baltimore's political scene will miss her.
Upon her defeat by Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Mrs. Clarke said it was her last campaign for political office, even though she pledged to continue her activism in civic life. She said she had high hopes for the generation of leadership that is ascending in Baltimore, including her choice to succeed her as council president, Lawrence Bell.
What Baltimore will be looking for among the new crowd is someone with the tenacity that Mrs. Clarke has shown in championing issues that touch not just the high and mighty, but those so low they no longer believe anyone cares. Mrs. Clarke proved time and again that she cares.
Mrs. Clarke was among the organizers of Baltimore's first effort to forge a black-and-white political coalition. It lasted for two decades and, ironically, fell apart before her defeat this year.
Even from the sidelines, there's no doubt that she will speak out for changes that she feels will make Baltimore a better city. Her unsuccessful campaign for mayor raised important questions about the way business is conducted in City Hall. That Mrs. Clarke lost in no way means the public doesn't want those questions answered.