Campaign cash flows into Baltimore council president, comptroller contests

Baltimore City Hall

The three leading candidates for Baltimore City Council president each have amassed more than $50,000 in campaign funds ahead of the first competitive race for the position in nearly a decade.

Campaign finance reports, due Wednesday for the first time this election cycle, showed 13th District Councilwoman Shannon Sneed with more than $122,000 on hand, thanks in part to a financial boost from several of her fellow council members and organized labor.


Del. Nick J. Mosby, a former city councilman and candidate for the position, had nearly $82,000 in his campaign coffers as of the fundraising deadline, while Councilman Leon Pinkett, who represents the 7th District, trailed with $56,783 on hand.

Sneed’s report appeared to show conflicting figures. Her cash balance was reported as $146,898, about $24,000 more than her bank account balance. Campaign officials said Friday they were working with the state to resolve the issue.


With Council President Brandon Scott running for mayor, the council president seat is due to be vacated. The 2020 Democratic primary will be the first time sitting elected officials have faced off against each other for council president since Stephanie Rawlings-Blake won the seat in 2007.

Current Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young held the council president position for the better part of the decade. He was selected for the job in 2010 to replace Rawlings-Blake when she became mayor.

Mosby, Pinkett and Sneed are all Democrats.

Council members Ryan Dorsey (District 3) and Mary Pat Clarke (District 14) gave a combined $1,750 to Sneed, a former journalist from East Baltimore who has served on council since 2016. Sneed, who raised a total of $141,879, also collected substantial donations from organized labor, including $6,000 from the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 486, $6,000 from the Baltimore Washington Construction & Public Employees Laborers and $2,000 from the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.

Jackson Haden of the Baltimore Recycling Center and a donor to mayoral candidate Sheila Dixon, gave $3,000 to Sneed and another $2,000 to Mosby.

Mosby, an electrical engineer and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute graduate who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2016, received his largest donation, $6,000, from the campaign account of his wife, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby. When he announced his campaign for the city’s number-two elected position in December, Mosby directly addressed his stake in the power couple.

“You probably know that I’m married to a woman who shares my passion for equal opportunity and fairness,” he said in an announcement video.

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Mosby’s other top donors included Jeffrey Clary of Lutherville-Timonium who gave $3,000 and Yinka Fadiora of Pikesville, executive director of Hope Health Systems, who gave $4,000. Mosby raised a total of $85,360.


Pinkett, a former economic development official in the mayor’s office, is serving his first term on council representing West Baltimore. He was the first of the three candidates to announce a bid for council president. His top donors included Hyun’s Market Inc. with $4,500 and Annie Umbricht of Towson with $3,000. Pinkett raised a total of $75,134.

Council president may be the second-highest elected position in Baltimore, but the race for comptroller, a citywide office that handles audits and has a seat on the Board of Estimates that oversees city spending, has proven to be a higher dollar contest. Incumbent Comptroller Joan Pratt, who has held the position since 1995, has $365,463 on hand, finance reports show. Challenger Bill Henry, a councilman from the 4th District, has $104,551.

Pratt, who had no primary challenger from 1999 to 2016, entered the race with substantial cash and raised an additional $104,850. P&J Contracting, managed by president Pless B. Jones, gave Pratt $2,000. Jones is a past donor to mayoral candidate Sheila Dixon and gave her $6,000 this cycle.

Henry, who has represented North and Northeast Baltimore on the council since 2007, raised more than $172,000. His top contributors included developer Jim French, who gave $3,950. His firm, French Development, gave an additional $1,000. Helm Real Estate Holdings of Baltimore contributed $6,000; as did Scott Helm, the firm’s general manager.

James DeGraffenreidt, past chairman of the Maryland State Board of Education and former CEO of the parent company of Washington Gas, gave Henry $3,000. DeGraffenreidt was one the top donors to mayoral candidate and state Sen. Mary Washington. Steve Silverman, attorney for former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, gave Henry $1,000.