Crossing party lines, Baltimore mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah has hired a former top aide to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan as a senior adviser to his campaign.
Vignarajah, a former Maryland deputy attorney general who is focused on crime-fighting as he runs in the April 28 Democratic primary, said Tuesday he has enlisted Doug Mayer, Hogan’s former communications director. Mayer is a partner at Annapolis-based Strategic Partners & Media.
After serving in communications roles for both Hogan and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Mayer said Vignarajah will be the first Democrat he’s worked for.
“This election has to be about more than partisan politics,” Vignarajah said. “We are looking to build the best campaign team at this moment of great crisis.”
Vignarajah has pledged to get the annual homicide count below 200 or not seek reelection.
“For far too long, the city has been dominated by a toxic mix of violence, corruption and plain old incompetence,” Mayer said. “Thiru is the perfect person to finally put an end to it.”
Vignarajah’s primary opposition includes Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City Council President Brandon Scott, former Mayor Sheila Dixon and former Baltimore Police Department spokesman T.J. Smith, all of whom have announced their candidacies ahead of the Jan. 24 filing deadline. Mary Miller, a former T. Rowe Price executive and acting deputy treasury secretary under President Barack Obama, held her campaign kickoff Tuesday evening. State Sen. Mary Washington already has filed to run.
Young, the former City Council president, was elevated to mayor last year when Democrat Catherine Pugh resigned amid a corruption scandal involving the sale of self-published children’s books.
Other members of Vignarajah’s campaign team include Wil Hughes, an alumnus of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s campaign, and Maggie Gratz, a Fulbright scholar.