State Sen. George W. Della Jr. said yesterday that he is considering a run for City Council president, yet another candidate to float a political trial balloon this campaign season.
"It's something I'm considering," said Della, a Baltimore Democrat from the 46th District, in a telephone interview. "Perhaps over the weekend I will come to a conclusion based on information that I will have an opportunity to study."
Candidates have until 9 p.m. Monday to file with the Baltimore City Board of Elections to run for election in the Sept. 9 primary.
While Della's trial balloon rose, two others fell yesterday.
State Del. Jill P. Carter said she will not challenge Dixon despite being heavily recruited by union and community activists. Comptroller Joan Pratt confirmed that she will not run against Mayor Martin O'Malley, despite weeks of hinting that she might.
Pratt and Carter said they did not have the money to defeat O'Malley and Dixon, respectively, with little more than two months before the primary. Pratt did not comment further. But Carter remained critical of Dixon and O'Malley.
"You have a mayor whose objective is to run for higher office and a council president lying in wait to step into his shoes," Carter said.
With Carter out of the race, some observers said City Councilwoman Catherine E. Pugh would have a better shot at defeating Dixon, who has garnered formidable support from East and West Baltimore leaders. Pugh, who is being backed by many in the business community, is expected to file Monday.
"It will be a little bit easier for her" to run against Dixon, said state Sen. Nathaniel J. McFadden, a Dixon supporter. "If George Della gets into the race, we could have a repeat O'Malley situation."
O'Malley won in 1999 by garnering the white vote and splitting the black vote with two African-American candidates. Della, who is white, could win the council presidency in a similar fashion, McFadden said. Dixon and Pugh are black.
Della, who would not have to give up his state legislative office while running for council, said he believes that O'Malley is not challenged by the Board of Estimates, which sets the city's fiscal policy. Dixon is chairwoman of the board.
"We should have a balanced government," said Della, who served on the City Council from 1976 to 1983.
He said he is not being supported by big business, like Pugh, or by endorsements of elected officials, like Dixon.
"There is a public out there that people seem to forget about," Della said. "We're crunching numbers, seeing what the statistics reveal. I will have a better idea come Monday."