Still dealing with the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced Friday that she would not seek re-election so that she could remain focused on rebuilding and healing the beleaguered city.
During a televised news conference at City Hall, she said that she was leaving the race to focus moving the city forward, and “not out of any concern she might not win the race against a growing field of challengers,” reports the Baltimore Sun.
Rawlings-Blake, 45, came under fire this spring for telling police to give demonstrators “space” during the fiery protests that erupted after Gray, 25, died in police custody. A trial for the six officers charged in the death is slated to begin next month. Of the decision not to run, she said:
“It was a very difficult decision, but I knew I needed to spend time, the remaining 15 months of my term, focused on the city’s future and not my own,” she said at the news conference.
The announcement came in the same week that Rawlings-Blake’s administration announced a settlement with Gray’s family for $6.4 million — a deal where the city accepted all civil liability in the death.
The move also comes amid a growing field of Democratic challengers for the April 2016 primary, including former Mayor Sheila Dixon, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, City Councilman Carl Stokes and Calvin Young, a Harvard graduate and engineering student who is seeking election for the first time.
Young, who spoke to PolitickerOne after he jumped into the race last month, said Friday he was somewhat surprised.
“I think this decision surprises everybody in Baltimore, specifically because she had been actively engaging in activities that would let you know she was running and she openly said that she would be,” he told PolitickerOne. “But it doesn’t surprise me that she’s making a decision that she believes is in the best interest of Baltimore. For that, she should be respected and commended. It is something you would expect someone who loves their city to do.”
Young declined to speculate on the reason for Rawlings-Blake abrupt announcement, saying, “She said the best decision is for her to focus on the next 15 months as mayor, as opposed to taking time away for a re-election campaign. That tells me that she knows that in order for the city to move forward, it needs her full-on engagement as mayor today.”
SOURCE: The Baltimore Sun | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN
CBC, Bernie Sanders Mum On Closed-Door Meet
With all of his talk about ending institutional racism in America, it’s no secret that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is courting Black voters. Indeed, if he is to win the White House in 2016, he needs to win a certain percentage of African-American voters.
That is why he met Thursday with members of the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C. But while the office of CBC Chairman G. K. Butterfield confirmed to PolitickerOne that the meeting took place, a source would not reveal what was discussed. Sanders’ campaign did not respond to an email question about the meeting.
But Lauren Victoria Burke reports at her Politics 365 blog that only 6 of 46 members of the CBC showed up for the gathering at a townhouse outside of Capitol Hill, which allowed members discuss politics and election strategy on property that is not taxpayer-funded.
“Sen. Sanders speaks our language,” Butterfield said. He then added that the Caucus and Sanders are on the same page regarding justice reform and economic issues.
The Black Caucus has already met with Hillary Clinton. That meeting took place in the Capitol, so no politics could be discussed though many policy issues were explored in detail. A second meeting with Clinton is expected.
Sen. Sanders is planning to introduce legislation that would bar federal money to be spent on private prisons. The bill will be the first justice reform legislation Sanders has offered in years.
It’s way too soon to determine whether his strategy to court Black and minority voters will win votes at the polls, but Sanders has overtaken Clinton for the first time among Iowa Democrats likely to caucus in February, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday morning. Do you think he can maintain the momentum?
SOURCE: Politics 365 | PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY
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