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Independent Baltimore mayoral candidate Bob Wallace launches TV ad campaign to reach voters during conventions

Bob Wallace’s campaign says the six-figure ad buy will span several weeks on cable and broadcast television.
Bob Wallace’s campaign says the six-figure ad buy will span several weeks on cable and broadcast television. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Independent Baltimore mayoral candidate Bob Wallace is starting a television ad campaign with a 30-second spot, showing first Wednesday during news coverage of the Democratic National Convention.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to hamper traditional campaigning, reaching voters via their screens takes on an added importance, especially for a candidate without built-in name recognition. The ad is aimed at introducing Wallace, a longtime businessman, to an electorate that’s overwhelmingly Democratic.

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He faces an uphill battle against City Council President Brandon Scott, the Democratic nominee for mayor. Also on the ballot is Republican Shannon Wright.

Wallace’s campaign says the six-figure ad buy will span several weeks on cable and broadcast television. It’s the first mayoral TV ad of the general election campaign.

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Campaign finance reports are due next week, which will help paint a clearer picture of the extent to which Wallace is funding his candidacy. A May report showed him with about $100,000 cash on hand, and included a $94,000 personal loan to the campaign.

“The idea of the commercial is, introduce Bob Wallace to the people of Baltimore City,” he said Wednesday during a campaign event in Mount Vernon. “I want them to understand that No. 1, I’m a Baltimore boy.”

He tells viewers about growing up poor in South Baltimore’s Cherry Hill neighborhood, where he could see the downtown skyline, though it “seemed so far away.” He later attended the celebrated Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and went to college, Wallace says in a voiceover, as the camera shows photos of him smiling with former Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. He came home to launch three businesses in Baltimore focused on technology, energy and consulting.

Wallace said he was pushed this year to run as an independent because he doesn’t think Scott is equipped to run the city. Scott was elected to the council in 2011 and became council president last year.

“I have seen the city slide backwards over the last 10 years due to poor decisions and even worse leadership,” Wallace says in the ad.

The Scott campaign did not provide comment requested Wednesday on Wallace’s ad or statements.

Though Wallace acknowledges that Baltimore has had only Democratic mayors for the last 50 years, he says he believes people are ready for change. His campaign collected more than 8,000 signatures to secure Wallace a spot on the ballot, far surpassing the number necessary.

“While the major parties hold their conventions and make their cases to America for why they’re best suited to address our nation’s issues, I will be making my case for why Baltimore needs to take a new direction in City Hall,” Wallace said.

Though he is unaffiliated with any party now, and previously was a registered Republican, Wallace says he supports Democratic ticket of former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California for president and vice president.

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