Mayor Sheila Dixon launched the first television advertisement of her campaign yesterday - an ad that focuses on her last six months in office - and campaign officials said it will stay on the air until the Sept. 11 primary election.
Though short on specifics, Dixon's 30-second spot began airing yesterday on all four local network affiliates. It portrays the mayor as "a tough-minded chief executive who gets things done" and "a problem solver." The ad starts about a week after her leading opponent in the race began his own series of ads.
Both ads represent an early start to the campaign's television wars - at least when compared with the 1999 mayoral elections - and demonstrate just how much money has been raised. Dixon is expected to have collected significantly more than the other candidates when official campaign finance reports are filed next week.
"The ad shows not just Mayor Dixon at work but how Mayor Dixon approaches her job," said Dixon campaign manager Martha McKenna. "It's not just that Mayor Dixon works hard, it's that Mayor Dixon works hard and sets the expectation that we'll all work hard to keep Baltimore moving forward."
City Councilman and mayoral candidate Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. said the advertisement glossed over the fact that homicides have increased significantly during her tenure.
"The bottom line is we're in a murder crisis right now. Bottom line is the city of Baltimore is the second-most violent in the country," Mitchell said at an afternoon news conference on crime. "There are those within city government who are just satisfied with the status quo."
Dixon's ad includes several shots of her looking "mayoral," smiling from a lectern, walking down a hallway with papers in hand and shaking hands with people in a neighborhood.
Mitchell aired the first television ad of the campaign on June 12, though it appeared only once on each of the affiliates. The ad focused on city schools. He began airing a second ad in late July that dealt with the city's increase in homicides.
Dixon became mayor in January when Martin O'Malley became governor. There are eight Democratic candidates for mayor, including PTA president Phillip A. Brown Jr., schools administrator Andrey Bundley, Del. Jill P. Carter, Circuit Court Clerk Frank M. Conaway, socialist A. Robert Kaufman and businessman Mike Schaefer.