Despite earlier statements that he would formally announce his candidacy for mayor last night, Carl Stokes delayed his announcement and held a smaller-than-expected meeting of campaign supporters.
About 50 friends and volunteers from his 1999 campaign for mayor turned out for a reception last night at the Forum catering hall on Primrose Avenue in West Baltimore.
This was fewer than the 75 to 125 that the former city councilman said he was expecting early in the day. But Stokes said he was not disappointed because the meeting was not intended as a large fund-raiser, but instead as a small meeting of his campaign volunteers.
"We'll be announcing my candidacy in days to weeks," Stokes said. "I'm not trying to be evasive. I know I said earlier I would announce in May."
Stokes said his campaign consultants advised him to delay the announcement because "we are going to sprint and stay strong. And we worried that if we announced tonight that there would be a lull before the rest of the campaign," he said.
Stokes said his decision to run will not be affected by the decision of state Sen. Joan Carter Conway, who is also weighing a bid for mayor. Early this month, Stokes said he and Conway would not run against each other.
Among those at the event were: state Dels. Nathaniel T. Oaks and Curtis S. Anderson; John Buntin, who served as Stokes' fund-raiser in 1999; and Kelley Ray, Stokes' spokeswoman during his 1999 campaign.
Oaks said he doesn't know what Stokes will do. "Is he running? We are here to support Carl as a person," he said. "If on June 30 [the filing deadline] Carl Stokes is the best candidate, then we'll support him."
The Democratic primary for mayor is scheduled for Sept. 9.