Money Behind Charm City Candidates: A Look At Some of Councilman Mitchell’s Campaign Contributors
If the ability to raise money in a political campaign trumps all else, then there are really only two candidates in Baltimore City’s Mayoral race.
One is interim Mayor Sheila Dixon, who has raised $284,383 as of Jan. 17, and the other is Councilman Keiffer Mitchell, who has raised about $17,000 during the same filing period.
The rest of the candidates in this crowded field — I lost count at five — have raised little or no funds for the race, according to the preliminary filings at the State Board of Elections.
Therefore, for now, there’s only Dixon and Mitchell, and he appears to be way behind.
While it is possible that Mitchell may have been making up for lost time over the last few months in raising money, we won’t know for sure until the next required campaign financing report is filed later this month.
Some heavy hitters backing Mitchell
However, despite the fact that Dixon appears to be light years ahead of Mitchell in campaign fundraising, Mitchell does have two things going for him that make it remotely possible for him to close the fundraising gap.
One, is the number of heavy hitters that are already contributing to his war chest.
For example, David Gildea, the high-powered land-use lawyer who represents the interests of major developers before zoning boards, contributed $4,000 to Mitchell.
Moreover, financial heavy hitters such as Legg Mason Senior Executive VP Peter Bain kicked in $1,000 to Mitchell’s campaign fund, as did the Charm City old money Henry A. Rosenberg Jr., chairman of the board of Crown Central LLC.
In addition, the 1st Mariner Bank PAC contributed $1,000 to Mitchell’s campaign.
This is a Baltimore bank bootstrapped into a hometown success by the self-made trucking company operator, entrepreneur and now bank CEO Edwin Hale Sr.
So you can see, Mitchell does have some patrons in high places with deep pockets.
The second factor that could close Mitchell’s campaign financing gap is the continuation of a spiking murder rate in Charm City, which has reached 163 and counting.
If the rate is not slowed down, the blame will stay where it is now — in Dixon’s lap.
If there’s one thing that makes billionaires who invest in Baltimore nervous, it’s violent crime and especially homicides.
They’re really bad for business!
My prediction is that if the murders continue and violent crime escalates, look for Mitchell’s campaign war chest to swell.
But if things simmer down, look for Dixon to be elected mayor — rather easily.