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Politics

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott doubles campaign war chest ahead of 2024 election

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott doubled his campaign war chest this month, campaign finance records show, marking an unofficial kickoff to the city’s mayoral race.

Scott’s report, filed Wednesday, showed the first-term Democratic mayor with more than $450,000 on hand as of Jan. 11. The mayor raked in $248,450 during the most recent reporting period, which began Nov. 16.

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Counted among Scott’s top donors were city developers, contractors and law firms, including Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, which gave a maximum $6,000 donation, in addition to $2,500 from attorney Thomas Dame, a managing partner with the firm. Over the course of 2022, two dozen Gallagher attorneys contributed a collective $14,500 to Scott, campaign finance records show, outpacing any other law firm by far.

John Angelos, chairman and CEO of the Orioles, who held a news conference Monday with the mayor to announce financial support for the CollegeBound Foundation, also gave $6,000 to Scott.

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While the 2024 election remains nearly two years away, the Democratic primary, the main contest in Baltimore, will be held in the spring of that year. Scott, a former City Council president who was elected in 2020, has not formally announced a bid for another four years in office, but did not deny his intention to run in a recent interview with The Baltimore Sun. Last week, he held a campaign fundraiser at the Everyman Theatre.

From the development community, Dan Bythewood, an executive with La Cité Development, contributed the maximum $6,000 to Scott. La Cité, which holds an agreement with Baltimore to redevelop an area west of downtown, recently finished the first phase of its Center\West Development, a mixed-use project with 262 rental units in five- and six-story buildings. The company made news last year after reaching an agreement with the city to spare the Poppleton home of Sonia Eaddy, whose house was due to be demolished to make way for development in the neighborhood.

Developer Mark Sapperstein also was among the donors who gave the $6,000 maximum. Sapperstein’s 28 Walker Development bought a 26-acre former industrial property last year at Baltimore Peninsula in the Port Covington area of South Baltimore. It’s slated to become town homes as part of a mixed-use neighborhood under construction there.

MCB Real Estate, which has a deal to redevelop the city’s Harborplace, gave $6,000 to Scott. Managing partner David Bramble contributed an additional $1,000, campaign finance records show. Legal filings show the city has pledged $1 million to Bramble’s company to assist with the redevelopment of the troubled Inner Harbor attraction.

Scott’s most recent report also included donations from multiple donors in the waste management industry, including a maximum donation from Willie Goode of the Goode Cos., a solid waste and recycling collection service. Jackson Haden of the Baltimore Recycling Center also contributed $6,000.

The donations come amid Baltimore’s struggles to maintain regular trash and recycling collection, a campaign promise of Scott’s. Recycling in the city has been collected on a biweekly schedule for the past year due to staffing shortages, attracting the ire of residents and some members of the City Council. The city has relied on contractors, including Goode Cos., to collect trash and recycling on existing routes.

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Other donors who gave the maximum to Scott included Comcast, Inner Harbor East Garage, Loading Dock Discount Liquor and Timothy Regan of Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. Whiting-Turner holds city contracts for upgrades to the Montebello water filtration plant and the Middle Branch Fitness Center. And Regan personally acquired the former Target store at Mondawmin Mall and is converting it into community services hub.

Jim Shea, Baltimore’s recently retired solicitor who ran for governor in 2018 with Scott as his running mate, contributed $6,000 to the mayor as did his wife, Barbara Shea, records show.

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Few other political figures appeared among Scott’s early donors. Former Democratic Mayor Kurt Schmoke gave $500 in January. He contributed $1,000 to Scott last year, as well, campaign finance records show.

Several other city officials reported having substantial campaign war chests ahead of the 2024 election. Democratic Councilman Eric Costello has a $439,339 balance, campaign finance records show. Costello was appointed to the council in 2014 to fill a vacancy and was elected in 2016 and 2020.

Democratic Councilman Zeke Cohen, who recently announced an exploratory committee for the council presidency, reported a $372,351 balance in his campaign account. Cohen, a second-term councilman, told The Baltimore Sun he has not ruled out a bid for mayor.

Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, a Democratic member representing Northwest Baltimore, reported having $355,394 on hand. Schleifer, a councilman since 2016, has been an outspoken member of the council and recently teamed with Cohen to demand action on efforts to resume weekly recycling collection.

Council President Nick Mosby, also a Democrat, did not file a campaign finance report by Wednesday’s midnight deadline, state records show. His last filing in November showed he had $14,678 on hand and raised only $500 in 2022.


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