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Annapolitans head to the polls Tuesday to elect a new mayor. This year's race has had its ups and downs, with one primary candidate accused of sexual misconduct and another dropping out after revelations of debts and other personal financial problems came to light.

The Baltimore Sun profiled each candidate before the primary. Here are summaries of those profiles for the three remaining candidates.

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Josh Cohen

Democrat Josh Cohen is an Annapolis native who studied music at the University of Maryland before switching majors and graduating with a degree in economics. After College Park, he moved back to Murray Hill and joined in local politics, ending up on the Ward One Residents Association board.

Cohen has spent 15 years since then fighting for local issues. He moved to Eastport and joined the civic association, served as chairman of the city's Democratic Central Committee, represented Ward 8 on the City Council and won a seat on the County Council in 2006.

In Eastport, he worked on zoning issues to ensure that neighborhood character stayed intact while the community evolved.

"What really makes Annapolis special is the sense of community that we have here because we are a living town," he said in his profile interview. "People work here, they live here, they play here. It's a wonderful, rich community. We need to hold onto that small-town feel even as we continue to grow."

Cohen said that his first priority in office would be to conduct a thorough review of all city expenditures, making sure every dollar goes to good use. He would also post all contracts online so taxpayers could see where their money goes.

He works with public safety at a nonprofit, and when a teenager was assaulted while he was alderman, he made sure everyone cooperated.

"The community pulled together," he said. "That's how it should work: when the Police Department is engaged and you have a community that's not just reactive but wants to be proactive."

Cohen does not support the city manager proposal. He argued that the city manager would create confusion, because the position would report to the entire city council instead of the mayor.

"When everyone's in charge, no one's in charge," he said. "I'm running for mayor because I want to be accountable to the voters."

David H. Cordle Sr.

Annapolis-born Republican David H. Cordle Sr. studied entomology and applied science at the University of Delaware before discovering a love for criminal justice - a field that he has worked in for 30 years now.

One of his top priorities as mayor will be public safety, Cordle said. "That's the most paramount function of municipal government."

Cordle, who is serving his second term as Ward 5 alderman for Annapolis, works as chief criminal investigator for the Anne Arundel County State's Attorney's Office and coordinator of the Witness Security Program, which he created in 1995. Throughout his criminal justice career, he has specialized in gangs, domestic violence and cold cases. He said he plans to use work experience as well as his decorated military experience and leadership skills to lead the city.

A retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, Cordle commanded three units among other assignments, before leaving the Army in 2002.

"I see where our shortcomings are, and it's in our youth," Cordle said in his profile interview. "And I think that's where I come in as a more seasoned candidate for the job. I've seen what the streets can do to our youth."

Cordle said the city is seeing an emerging gang problem that is not being properly addressed. He said that's why he started a gang-related investigation and prosecution unit at the State's Attorney's Office, and plans to tackle the issue head-on if elected mayor.

Cordle said he would work with children and their families living in public housing to figure out some of the problems they face, and wants to work on the city's infrastructure and environmental issues, particularly storm-water runoff.

Other issues on Cordle's agenda include helping small businesses in the city and having a city representative on the school board.

In addition to participating in the Big Brother/Big Sister program while he attended college, an organization that he is still involved with, Cordle said he was an emergency medical technician for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, as well as the president of his homeowners association.

Chris Fox

Independent candidate and Annapolis resident Chris Fox grew up in Washington, working as a paper carrier, mowing lawns and shoveling snow, later serving hot dogs on a street corner from the age of 12 to 19.

Since then, he has worked in the hospitality industry and opened an Irish pub on Church Circle. His said in his profile interview that dealing with city hall to fight business policies made him grow tired of the current administration.

"Our nation was founded by regular people who were mistreated by their leaders," Fox said. "We need to stand up and fight."

Although Fox's fight stems from his business grievances, the main issue for him is the proposed city manager form of government, which he supports. If he's elected, he'll hire a professional city manager right away.

He'll make sure the city manager focuses on day-to-day operations, including the budget - giving aldermen more accountability.

Fox's proposed solution to the city's public housing problem involves getting physically and mentally capable residents out of public housing and into local jobs through a tax credit program.

"It's not feasible for them to drive in a car to Baltimore or D.C. to go to work," he said. "Local businesses have to be part of the solution."

In order to fund such a program, which Fox proposes would reward businesses with a one-time tax credit of $2,000 per public-housing resident hired, expenditures would need to be cut.

Still, he doesn't support the proposed cap on property taxes. He'd like to lower the taxes, if possible, but said imposing a limit is irresponsible.

"You can't handcuff local government into making necessary expenditures," he said. "What if they [government officials] have to raise taxes by a penny and they can't do it?"

Experienced people are the ones responsible for most of Annapolis' misfortunes, Fox said.

"We need someone who loves this town and has a good vision regardless of experience," he said. "I don't think anyone is more qualified."

The race for alderman

For alderman candidate summaries in their own words, see page 3A.

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