Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby announced Wednesday that he is no longer running for mayor and is throwing his support behind state Senator Catherine Pugh.
The announcement in front of City Hall came hours before early voting is to begin in the primary race that largely decides city races due to the overwhelming number of registered Democrats.
Mosby, who had appeared Tuesday in a televised debate with five other candidates, it was a personally and professionally challenging decision that he spent days pondering. He decided it’s not his time to run the city.
“Now is the time for us to collectively come together as a city to move our city in the right direction,” he said.
Mosby asked his supporters to get behind Pugh, who has a solid lead according to the latest Baltimore Sun-UB Poll.
“[Pugh’s] in the best position of linking us up with the state and federal government,” he said, “ensuring that we get an investment in our communities that have not seen investment far too long.”
It’s unclear how Mosby will support Pugh. His name will still appear on the ballot because his withdrawal comes so late in the race. And although Pugh held a news conference at the same spot earlier in the day, they had not talked about his decision.
Pugh, who is locked in a tight race with former Mayor Sheila Dixon, said she is grateful for the endorsement and that she looks forward to talking with Mosby.
“I think that Nick Mosby has a great future in front of him; he’s a very smart young man and has offered some great ideas and many of those ideas I’m interested in,” she said
Martha McKenna, a spokeswoman for the Dixon campaign, said Mosby’s announcement has a silver lining to it. Dixon has a lot of supporters in his council district and they expect her to do well there.
“She has strong relationships with community leaders in West Baltimore and really has built a strong field program to get out the vote in the seventh district,” McKenna said.
Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College, said Mosby’s withdrawal is the first sign of a coalescing behind one candidate other than Dixon.
“We’ve known for some time now that there has been a few moving parts in this race,” she said. “One of those moving parts has certainly been a not electing Sheila Dixon for another term as mayor.”
Mosby has had a tough time getting traction in the crowded mayoral race ever since his announcement last October.
He has not polled above six percent and his campaign raised a little more than $69,000 in the most recent reporting period compared with Dixon’s $294,000 and Pugh’s $298,000.
Kromer said money is important in the late stage of a campaign. Other candidates who trail in the polls have enough money to sustain their campaigns, but Mosby’s lack of money “makes it difficult to mount a formidable campaign,” she said.
Despite his performance in the race, she added, his endorsement is important because he is still respected in the city. And it’s a signal to undecided voters that Pugh is a viable candidate.