Carter says she will enter the mayor's race

December 23, 2006|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun reporter

Del. Jill P. Carter said yesterday she plans to enter next year's race for mayor of Baltimore and that she expects to formally file for the office as soon as next month, making her the fifth candidate to jump into the crowded field.

Carter, 43, has represented the 41st District in Northwest Baltimore since 2003 and has become increasingly critical of the city's police practices under Mayor Martin O'Malley, who will become governor next month.

"At this point, I don't see any evidence that there is any other potential candidate that would bring the needed change and fresh perspective and independence to that office," Carter said yesterday. "I think we are in desperate need of someone who can really deal with some of the crises we have."

City Council President Sheila Dixon, who will serve out the remainder of O'Malley's term next year, has announced her intention to run for a full four-year term in the Sept. 11 primary. Dixon, 52, running as incumbent with an early fundraising advantage, is expected to be a formidable candidate.

So, too, is Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, 54, who said last month that she is planning to run. Baltimore Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway Sr., 73, and former high school principal Andrey Bundley, 46, have announced they will take another shot at City Hall. City Council members Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., 39, and Kenneth N. Harris Sr., 43, have also said they are considering running, but neither has declared his candidacy. Many have speculated that former congressman and NAACP president Kweisi Mfume would make a strong candidate, but Mfume has not said unequivocally if he is in.

Mfume, 58, did create a committee last month that allows him to raise money for mayor or any other office in the state. Though many believe Mfume would clear the field of possible candidates, Carter said she would not necessarily bow out if he runs.

Carter has been an outspoken critic of O'Malley's zero-tolerance policing policy, which has resulted in a high number of arrests that do not lead to prosecution. Along with other members of the city's delegation, Carter supported a proposal in the General Assembly this year to expunge arrest records of those who are not prosecuted.

By filing for the mayor's office early, Carter will be able to sidestep a provision of state election law that prohibits current members of the General Assembly from raising money during the legislative session. Most candidates are expected to hold a flurry of fundraisers early next year.

Dixon noted that Carter could keep her seat in the House of Delegates even if she lost the race. She questioned why Carter ran for the General Assembly this year if she was contemplating a run for mayor.

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