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After mounting strong challenge, Muller Paz concedes to Stokes, Baltimore City Council to stay all-Democratic

Green Party candidate Franca Muller Paz conceded Friday the race for Baltimore City Council’s District 12 seat after the city’s in-person Election Day returns showed Councilman Robert Stokes maintaining a wide lead.

Overall returns so far show Democrat Stokes with nearly 60% of the vote, Muller Paz at 35% and Republican nominee Eugene Z. Boikai at 4%.

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Election Day returns from all 24 citywide voting centers were posted late Thursday on the State Board of Elections website, adding them to numbers from early voting and mail-in ballots counted before Tuesday. The city elections board was still counting mail-in ballots Friday.

The race in the 12th District, which includes parts of Central, East and North Baltimore, was the only competitive council race.

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In a news release Friday, Muller Paz called her campaign “historic,” highlighting fundraising efforts that brought in more than $100,000, primarily in small amounts.

“While there are still a number of ballots to be counted, we have to remember that this was never about an election," she said. “This was about showing the strength of real, grassroots organizing.

"Now, it is time to use this multiracial, multigenerational movement to fight for our right to thrive in our community. Let’s keep building and fighting #ForThePeople. Stay tuned for all the great things we have in store.”

Stokes was elected in 2016 and says his accomplishments include securing significant funding for community groups in his district. Muller Paz’s top campaign issues included closing the digital divide and community-centered public safety.

With Stokes' reelection, the council remains all-Democratic. Councilman Zeke Cohen broke ranks with his party to endorse Muller Paz, saying the city needed leaders who are “unafraid to fight for justice, even when there are consequences.”

As well as the first Green Party member on council, Muller Paz would have been the second Hispanic candidate elected to city office. Odette Ramos, elected Tuesday to replace retiring Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke in District 14, is the first.

Stokes is one of outgoing Democratic Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s closest allies on the council and had strong support from the mayor. Stokes ran in the primary on Young’s slate, and the mayor campaigned in person for him on Election Day outside the voting center at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

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