Shannon Sneed, runner-up in 2020′s race for Baltimore City Council president, announced another run Friday, creating a three-way race for the office.
Sneed, a member of the City Council from 2016 to 2020 representing East Baltimore, left political office in 2020 after her failed bid for the Democratic nomination for council president. That year she earned 29.4% of the vote in a seven-candidate field, trailing now-Council President Nick Mosby by 14,950 votes.
In 2022, Sneed ran alongside Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perez as his running mate. Perez ultimately lost last year’s primary to now-Gov. Wes Moore.
Sneed made her announcement Friday flanked by supporters outside the North Avenue office of Baltimore City Public Schools.
“People of Baltimore are fed up and so am I,” Sneed said in a news release Friday. “The violence that has plagued our streets is at a high we haven’t seen in ages, and so is the fear and anxiety too many of our residents feel.”
Sneed said the city’s leadership has “failed to keep our families safe.”
“I want to make sure that my daughter, Rae, and all the children of Baltimore have safe spaces to learn, grow and play and pursue opportunities they deserve,” she said.
Sneed is a late entrant to the field for council president, which already includes Mosby and Councilman Zeke Cohen. Mosby announced in March that he would seek the Democratic nomination in 2024 to run for a second, four-year term. Cohen, who has represented District 1 since 2016, has also announced a bid for the office. All three are Democrats.
The expanding field comes as the incumbent Mosby, a former state delegate, city councilman and resident of Reservoir Hill, is potentially vulnerable. While he has made his intention to run again clear, records show Mosby has failed to raise any campaign money since taking office, a potential signal of political weakness. A January report showed his campaign had $14,539 in the bank. Cohen’s campaign reported a hefty balance of $372,351 in January.
Sneed created a campaign fundraising committee earlier this month.
Mosby has also been dogged by several investigations since assuming the council presidency in 2020.
A federal probe into the financial dealings of Mosby and his wife, former State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, was revealed within the council president’s first few months in office. Nick Mosby has not been charged with anything, but Marilyn Mosby is charged with perjury and making false statements related to early withdrawals from her city retirement account and the purchase of two Florida houses. Her trial is set for Nov. 2 in federal court in Greenbelt.
Last year, the Baltimore Board of Ethics found Nick Mosby violated city ethics law in connection with a legal-defense fund set up on behalf of the political power couple. The board found and a Baltimore Circuit Court judge upheld that Mosby indirectly solicited donations to the fund and failed to disclose its existence on his annual ethics filing.
Sneed said Friday she doesn’t believe the council is living up to its potential under Mosby’s leadership. The council has the power to draw attention to issues and hold city agencies accountable, she said.
“We can bring in folks. We can ask the questions,” she said. “To me, that hasn’t been happening. We’ve been writing checks.”
Mosby convened the council’s defunct investigative committee earlier this year to probe a multimillion deal pushed by Scott to have Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. take over maintenance of the city’s conduit system. The deal was ultimately approved by an unconventional vote of the Board of Estimates without Mosby present.
Mosby’s spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on Sneed’s announcement.
Cohen called Sneed a “colleague and a friend.”
“I look forward to seeing her on the campaign trail,” Cohen said.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Sneed is a former television journalist who unseated incumbent Democrat Warren Branch in 2016 to represent the District 13 in East Baltimore. She is a graduate of University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Morgan State University.
As a councilwoman, Sneed was a progressive presence, introducing legislation to protect city contractual employees from sudden layoffs; require all top officials in Baltimore’s government to live in the city; and expand lactation accommodations for working moms who are nursing.
In her announcement Friday, Sneed touted her efforts to fight for a $15 minimum wage and eliminate preemployment marijuana testing for many city employees.
“As Baltimore Council president, I’ll never stop working to make sure that your ZIP code doesn’t determine whether you have easy access to healthy food, reliable transportation, community spaces and good schools and the freedom to walk the streets safely no matter the time of day,” Sneed said.
In her 2020 bid for the council presidency, Sneed ran on slate with Scott, an option she will not have in 2024 due to her participation in public campaign financing. Scott is seeking a second, four-year term in office. He faces Democrats Sheila Dixon and Robert Wallace, among others.
Asked what her approach would be to working with the mayor, Sneed said she can collaborate with anyone.
“I think my history of being outside and inside the city government shows I can work with anyone,” she said. “We all want to be servants of the people. No matter who gets elected, I’m going to be willing to work with them.”