Although the primary is about a year away, two well-known Baltimoreans have suddenly begun to look like potential challengers to first-term Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke.
But both say the one thing that may stand in their way is a lack of money.
Boyse F. Mosley, principal of Northwestern High School, said yesterday that he wants to run because he is frustrated by what he sees as the mayor's indecisiveness in handling the city's problems.
And last night, an organization calling itself Friends of "Du" Burns held a $250 per person birthday fund-raiser on West Preston Street for former Mayor Clarence H. "Du" Burns. The organizers of the fund-raiser -- John Hubble, a real estate developer, and Joseph M. Townsley Sr., owner of a consulting firm -- are urging Mr. Burns to use the money for another run at City Hall.
"I'm not happy with the present administration," Mr. Townsley said. "I don't think we have the leadership we had with Don Schaefer and Du Burns."
Mr. Burns, who lost narrowly to Mr. Schmoke in the 1987 Democratic primary, says that before he gets in the race again he wants to be shown he can get the kind of financial backing to field a credible campaign. But it is clear he is interested.
"I could very easily say yes and look for the help I need later, but I want to see the help there first," Mr. Burns said.
Nonetheless, Mr. Burns, 72, a former president of the City Council who climbed to the highest rung of city politics when William Donald Schaefer resigned to become governor, indicated strongly that he remains fascinated by the possibility of holding power again.
"I think I could help the city, and it certainly needs a lot of help," Mr. Burns said. "There is a lot of dissatisfaction out there with the present administration, and people look to me."
Mr. Burns said his lingering disappointment over his inability to raise money for his 1987 campaign may dissuade him from running again. He blamed early projections by The Sun, which suggested that Mr. Schmoke would win by a landslide, for drying up potential financial support for his campaign.
Last night's fund-raiser sold 106 tickets. Organizers said they might use the money as seed money to establish a campaign office and build a fund-raising effort.
Mr. Mosley, 57, said his interest in running for mayor stems from his frustration with what he says is a Schmoke administration that appears incapable of getting the city moving and his concern that no one else would run against the mayor.
Mr. Mosley accused the mayor of indecisiveness in managing the affairs of the city, including his handling of school Superintendent Richard C. Hunter, who the mayor appeared on the verge of firing last year.
"We need a mayor that is willing to act," Mr. Mosley said. "I've said Mayor Schmoke is the Hamlet of local politics, always contemplating whether to be or not to be, to do or not to do. We need a mayor who can act in the manner of a Donald Schaefer."
But Mr. Mosley, a 28-year veteran of the school system who has been principal at Northwestern for the past six years, said he, too, is not sure whether he could garner the monetary support to finance a campaign.
Indeed, any challenger to the mayor can expect to face an opponent who is both determined and well-financed.
Larry Gibson, a close political adviser to Mr. Schmoke, said the mayor is anticipating a campaign against one or more challengers next year. As of a month ago, the mayor had collected $760,000 and had a war chest cash balance of $308,000.