Citing overriding family concerns, State Sen. George W. Della Jr. bailed out of the race for Baltimore City Council president yesterday.
Mr. Della's decision on the final day for primary candidates to withdraw leaves incumbent Mary Pat Clarke with only one opponent in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary -- the Rev. Daki Napata, a civic activist from South Baltimore.
"I'm out of it. My family comes first," said Mr. Della, a South Baltimore state senator who declined to say what the specific family matters were that forced his withdrawal. "I got priorities."
Mr. Della, 48, said that he entered the race 10 days ago because he was angry at some of Ms. Clarke's stands on issues, including redistricting -- in which much of South Baltimore was removed from the Sixth District -- and the reduction in property taxes, which he said sent "the wrong message" to legislators in Annapolis.
"I was down there begging for money to help the city and they cut taxes, just because it's an election year," Mr. Della said at a prior campaign appearance in Locust Point.
Mr. Della said yesterday that he hopes Mr. Napata will take up his arguments and use them to debate Ms. Clarke's leadership.
And he insisted that by withdrawing from the council race, he was by no means conceding that he would have been beaten by Ms. Clarke.
"Look at last year's election in Baltimore County. Look at last year's election in Howard County," he said, referring to the upset of incumbent county executives in those counties.
"Elections are decided by the public, not necessarily where the political support is or where polls say it is."
Ms. Clarke said that her campaign strategy will remain the same.
"We are sticking to our schedule," she said. "This is an important campaign to the city of Baltimore, and we are going to be on streets talking to people, asking for their support, asking for their thoughts on where the city should be going."