Baltimore City Council poised to remain all Democratic, after strong challenge in 12th District

An incumbent Democratic Baltimore councilman was poised to hold his seat, despite a spirited challenge by a Green Party candidate.

Late Tuesday, Robert Stokes of District 12 had a significant lead in mail-in and absentee voting over Franca Muller Paz and the Republican nominee, Eugene Z. Boikai.

Stokes appeared Tuesday night outside City Hall as voting results came in.

He said he’s secured significant funding for neighborhood groups and community projects in his district and the voters don’t forget it.

“These are the kinds of things that people want to see our councilmen do — deliver the bacon,” he said. “I don’t do a whole lot of talking; I do the work.”

Muller Paz, a city teacher and resident of Mount Vernon in Central Baltimore, mounted a strong campaign for the seat, focusing on issues that included closing the digital divide, community-centered public safety and increasing the minimum wage in Baltimore. She hoped to become the first Green Party representative in City Hall, dominated for decades by Democrats.

Muller Paz campaign spokesperson Andrew Eneim said late Tuesday they were “waiting for the full results.”

"We’re having fun,” he said by phone from a small post-election gathering where Muller Paz was performing music on stage. “It’s been a great race.”

The district includes parts of Central, East and North Baltimore. The contest was the only competitive City Council race.

Her endorsements included the Metro Baltimore Council AFL-CIO Unions, which had never before supported a third-party candidate, and Democratic Councilman Zeke Cohen, who this week broke ranks with his party to endorse her.

Muller Paz raised more than $116,000 between July and mid-October, a period during which Stokes did not bring in any donations.

New members elected to council

Five new members, all Democrats, were elected to the 14-person council by large margins.

In District 4, Mark Conway defeated candidate John Richard Perkins in the race for the seat being vacated by Councilman Bill Henry, who was elected city comptroller.

Henry had no opponents in the general election for the fiscal watchdog post after beating incumbent Joan Pratt in the Democratic primary. He has pledged to bring more transparency to the office.

James Torrence won in District 7 over Christopher Anderson. The seat is now held by Leon Pinkett, who ran for council president in the primary.

In District 10, Phylicia Porter beat Michael Polet for the seat being vacated by retiring Councilman Ed Reisinger.

Antonio Glover was unopposed in the race for District 13, now represented by Shannon Sneed, who ran in the primary for council president.

Odette Ramos became the city’s first Hispanic elected official, winning in the District 14 race over Charles Long. Mary Pat Clarke is retiring from the seat.

Three incumbent councilmen, all Democrats, were unopposed: Kristerfer Burnett (District 8); John Bullock (District 9), and Eric Costello (District 11).

In other council races, Democrats won easily over Republicans: District 1 Councilman Cohen over write-in candidate Donna L. Rzepka; District 2 Councilwoman Danielle McCray over Brendon Joyner-El; District 3 Councilman Ryan Dorsey over David Marshall Wright; District 5 Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer over Maria Mandela Vismale; and District 6 Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton over Michelle Andrews.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 10-1 margin in Baltimore.

Baltimore Sun reporters Stephanie García, Hallie Miller and Tim Prudente contributed to this article.

García is a 2020-21 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project, a national service program that places emerging journalists in local newsrooms. She covers issues relevant to Latino communities.

Alison Knezevich

Alison Knezevich

Alison Knezevich covers Baltimore County government. Since joining The Sun in 2011, she has reported on government and politics, courts and criminal justice. She previously covered state politics at the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia. A native of Pittsburgh, she lives in Baltimore County with her husband and two children.