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Conaway Sr. announces mayoral bid

The Baltimore Sun

With no money and no desire to raise any, Baltimore Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway Sr. formally announced yesterday that he will run for mayor in the 2007 election.

Conaway has been a frequent critic of Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley's City Hall administration, and his announcement yesterday showed that his campaign will continue the same theme.

"Baltimore is in crisis," Conaway, 73, wrote in a statement. "It is time for honest, candid and mature leadership. For too many years, we have neglected our schools. ... For too many years, we have politicized our police department."

Conaway, who was first elected clerk in 1998, ran for mayor as a write-in candidate against O'Malley in 2004. His entrance into the 2007 Democratic mayoral primary will once again pit him against City Council President Sheila Dixon, who will become mayor in January when O'Malley is sworn in as governor.

Conaway came in third in his campaign for council president in 1999, the year Dixon emerged from the six-person field with 55 percent of the vote.

Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and former high school Principal Andre Bundley have said they, too, will run in a race that is expected to attract many candidates.

Conaway, like Bundley, has no money in his campaign account, but the clerk said yesterday that he does not need cash to win. Dixon has $278,000; Pratt has $134,775.

"I think people put too much emphasis on money," Conaway said.

In his statement, Conaway said he would reform a Police Department that he has long accused of falsifying statistics to show improvements in crime-fighting under O'Malley. He also said he wants to return control of the school system to a locally elected school board.

Conaway, a former state delegate, has also urged the police to reopen the investigation of Robert Lee Clay, a prominent businessman and political activist. Clay's shooting death last year was ruled a suicide, but his family and friends say the police have ignored evidence to the contrary.

Conaway's wife, Mary W. Conaway, is the city's register of wills. His daughter, Belinda Conaway, is a City Council member, and his son, Frank Conaway Jr., was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates this month.

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