Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced she no longer plans to run for re-election.
“It was a very difficult decision,” she stated on Friday morning, “but I knew I needed to spend my time, the remaining 15 months of my term, focused on the city’s future and not my own.”
She has no plans to run for any other position; rather, she will “work to move our city forward,” she said.
This announcement comes just days after her administration revealed the family of Freddie Gray would be receiving a $6.4 million settlement from the city. Of the settlement, Rawlings-Blake said, “This settlement is being proposed solely because it is in the best interest of the city, and avoids costly and protracted litigation that would only make it more difficult for our city to heal and potentially cost taxpayers many millions more in damages.”
The city is anticipating unrest at the beginning of the six trials for the officers involved in Freddie Gray’s death, which are scheduled to begin in October.
Heavy competition was cited as a possible reason Rawlings-Blake chose not to run for her position again. Candidates currently slated to run include former Mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine Pugh and City Councilman Carl Stokes. City Councilman Nick Mosby, husband of State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby, has also publically expressed interest in running but has not yet confirmed a decision. However, according to Rawlings-Blake, this held no weight over her decision.
“I knew this would be a very hotly contested campaign, and I haven’t lost a campaign since middle school,” she said. “It’s not that I didn’t think I could win. I just had to ask myself the question, ‘At what cost'”
Some of Rawlings-Blake’s would-be competitors expressed their respect for her accomplishments in office.
“She and her family have made many sacrifices,” said Dixon, “and I think she has earned the right to pursue other goals.”
Mosby also spoke highly of Rawlings-Blake and added, “Baltimore needs to move in [a] new direction, past the scandals, the unrest, and the persistent poverty that has held us back.”
Rawlings-Blake has had a political career for the past 20 years. She was elected to the City Council in 1995 and was the youngest person ever elected. She served as the City Council’s vice president from 1999 until 2007 and went on to serve as president from 2007 until 2010.
She has been mayor since 2010. Incidentally, she served as Dixon’s replacement, who was convicted on embezzlement charges and will now be running for Rawlings-Blake’s old position. In 2011 Rawlings-Blake ran to keep her position and was elected for a full-term.