Sneed outpaces other candidates for Baltimore City Council president in fundraising, launches TV ad

Baltimore City Councilwoman Shannon Sneed has the most cash to spend in the race to be the next City Council president, and she is using it to launch the first TV ad buy among those running for the seat.

Four major City Council president candidates are locked in the first competitive race for the position in nearly a decade. They are now bracing for the the final leg of a bizarre primary season upended by the coronavirus.


Sneed has roughly $130,000 in the bank, bolstered by large contributions from union groups.

State Del. Nick Mosby, meanwhile, has a little more than $100,000 to spend. Mosby had a clear lead carved out according to a poll released last month by The Baltimore Sun, the University of Baltimore and WYPR-FM.


Current City Councilman Leon Pinkett and former City Councilman Carl Stokes have about $43,000 and $27,000, respectively.

All are Democrats. Updated campaign finance reports were due at midnight Tuesday.

The race for the No. 2 position in city government has been somewhat overshadowed by the crowded and competitive race to be Baltimore’s mayor. Several leading mayoral candidates have been on voters’ television screens for months.

Now Sneed, the only woman running, is the first City Council president candidate to launch a television campaign. The 30-second spot, which will run on broadcast and cable channels, focuses on progress made in her first term representing East Baltimore. So far, the campaign has spent roughly $40,000 on the ad buy.

“Shannon brought her daughter to the council in the months after she was born, and she hit the ground running,” a voiceover states. “Shannon will work the hardest to help Baltimore recover, always putting our families first.”

Sneed is running as part of a slate that includes current City Council President Brandon Scott for mayor, four incumbent council members and four council hopefuls.

Other council president candidates have not formally announced alliances yet.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young is supporting Mosby for the seat, but Mosby is not listed on the mayor’s slate, which includes three incumbent council members.


Sneed, the council’s labor committee chair, has the endorsement of several unions, which also made significant contributions to her campaign. She recently sponsored a bill that would require collective bargaining agreements for major city projects.

It is opposed by many of the city’s minority and nonunion contractors.

Associated Builders & Contractors of Baltimore, which opposes the bill, contributed $2,500 to Pinkett’s campaign on March 10, the day after a protest in front of City Hall over the “project labor agreements” bill. Pinkett’s disclosure form listed the contribution as coming from the group’s president, Mike Henderson, but Henderson said it was a donation by the organization, not one from him personally.

Stokes jumped into the race at the last minute, filing his candidacy roughly an hour before the Jan. 24 deadline. His January financial disclosure form showed a negative balance in his campaign account, although he filed that before he started running.

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His latest finance report shows him once again in the black, thanks in part to a $10,000 contribution to his own campaign.

Stokes recently launched an ad on Radio One and WBAL-AM, in which a waitress appears to ask a cafe patron what they would like to eat. She recommends the “Carl Stokes for Council President platter,” which is filled with “integrity, transparency and principled leadership — none of that artificial stuff the other choices are filled with.”


The Sun/University of Baltimore/WYPR poll showed a significant portion of the electorate still undecided about who to vote for as City Council president. Mosby was favored by about a quarter of likely Democratic voters, while Stokes had 17% support. Sneed and Pinkett trailed at 10% and 4%, respectively.

Restrictions intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus have made traditional campaigning more difficult.

The race for Democratic nominee for city comptroller is also drawing big bucks, as incumbent Joan Pratt faces a serious challenge from City Councilman Bill Henry.

Henry significantly out-raised Pratt in the latest filing period, but she still has a much heftier war chest from her two decades in the position.

He has about $84,000 cash on hand, compared to her nearly $260,000.