The dramatic redistricting plan pushed through the Baltimore City Council earlier this year was no match for the power of incumbency. Only three incumbents who sought re-election were defeated. And despite early expectations that the new destrict arrangement would increase black representation, the new council will have only one more black member than the current body.
Even so, with two council members having declined to seek re-election in order to run for comptroller, there will be enough fresh faces to make a difference. In the 1st District, for example, two fixtures of Baltimore politics, Mimi DiPietro and John Schaefer, were rejected in favor of younger, independent candidates.
An especially impressive win last Thursday was Jackie McLean's decisive victory in the race for comptroller. With almost 49 percent of the vote in the only citywide race that carried any suspense to speak of, McLean clearly established herself as a politician to be reckoned with. Her role on the Board of Estimates gives her a influential platform to further strengthen her appeal .. to voters -- and a platform which could also be a launching pad for a race for mayor.
There were many winners last Thursday, but Jackie McLean may have emerged as the biggest winner of all.