Baltimore City Councilman Leon Pinkett announced he was running for City Council president in 2020.
Baltimore City Councilman Leon Pinkett announced he was running for City Council president in 2020. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

Freshman Baltimore City Councilman Leon Pinkett said Saturday that he will run for City Council president in next year’s election.

Pinkett was one of the wave of new council members elected in 2016 and represents a district in West Baltimore. He serves as the vice-chairman of the council’s budget and transportation committees.

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Pinkett, a Democrat like all his council colleagues, announced that he would run in social media posts Saturday afternoon. He made the announcement the day after the current council president, Brandon Scott, said he is going to run for mayor in 2020.

“Moments ago, I officially announced my candidacy for Baltimore City Council President at my 7th District Community BBQ,” Pinkett wrote. “Stay tuned for updates. The campaign is just getting started!”

Pinkett couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Before being elected to the council, Pinkett worked in economic development roles at the mayor’s office and the Baltimore Development Corporation. He is a married father of two and lives in Reservoir Hill. Pinkett holds a degree in economics from Guilford College in North Carolina.

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, another freshman who chairs the council’s labor committee, said she is also considering running for the job.

“The people of Baltimore are ready for leadership that’s focused on rooting out corruption and fighting for policies that protect hard working families across the city," Sneed said in a statement first provided to the Afro.

As he announced his mayoral campaign this week Scott praised Sneed, saying she would be “a fabulous council president.”

The council presidency has long been a stepping stone to the mayor’s office. The president automatically becomes mayor if the sitting mayor steps down, as happened in 2010 with Sheila Dixon and this year with Catherine Pugh.

But the office also holds power in its own right, setting the agenda and making committee assignments in the City Council and giving its holder the power to scrutinize spending decisions as a member of the Board of Estimates.

In 2016, voters sent eight new members to the 15-member city council. The 2020 elections are set to see more turnover. In addition to Pinkett, Councilman Bill Henry has said he will give up his seat to run for comptroller and council members Mary Pat Clarke and Ed Reisinger are retiring.

The Democratic primary is on April 28.

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