Last night opposites certainly attracted different types to two different areas of downtown Baltimore, as incumbent Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake hosted a high-priced fundraiser for the City/State elite while Mayoral candidate Otis Rolley held his multi-faceted event for Baltimore's average constituent. The question remains; whose event meant more to their electability in September?
Obviously with the Mayor being the incumbent for a little over 18-months before the Primary elections, she shall have the power of the City's "bully-pulpit" at her disposal. She also seems to have the City/State's power base and elected leadership behind her, yet in a time where the electorate is not too fond of those elected, especially those who have been in office for a considerable amount of time, what that means for Mayor Rawlings-Blake is still in question? She also has to address a budgetary process that looms of an almost $85-million budget deficit facing Baltimore, as the past 4-cent bottle tax proposed last year has already come back to haunt her administration with Pepsi announcing its recent closing and laying-offs of 77-employees. Therefore, though the daughter of former Baltimore political powerhouse Pete Rawlings may have the blessing of the esteemed Democratic establishment, they still only have one vote like everyone else, while some cannot even vote for her as many of the city developers she attracted last night don't even live in the City of Baltimore?
As for Otis, his relative obscurity in Baltimore politics shall be a plus and a minus, dependent on how he manuveurs his campaign, and its startegy, shall speak to which side gets the better of the other? Being that "political outsider" may come to play well with the average first or second time voter, however the more experienced voter who regularly visits the polls or concentrates their attentions on politics and campaigns shall want something more! They shall want to almost certainly see his plan, and/or vision for the City that goes above and beyond that of Rawlings-Blake's, or any other candidate in the race. Also it will be interesting to see, which I may have a sense of already, whether or not he falls into the same trap as past candidates in bringing a campaign team consistent with a bunch of outsiders who do not know Baltimore, or our politics, and try to bring this southern or west coast campaign strategy to a town dependent on the way it has done its business for decades? He shall most certainly need Baltimore experts to run things, while having possible outside advisers, however as others have said, Bill Cosby and these so-called experts at the end of the day go off to their respective states or residents, not really knowing or caring that deeply as to the leadership and conditions of a town they are only merely visiting for the time being!
Then its the third option of the possible third, fourth, fifth and other future candidates that may, and almost certainly shall, jump into the fray of things? From court clerk Frank Conaway Sr. to 40th district Senator Catherine Pugh to 41st district Delegate Jill P. Carter to 12th district Councilman Carl Stokes to Kweisi Mfume to Jody Landers to Scott Donaghue to la-di-da-di and everybody else? This dynamic changes everything, especially if Frank, Catherine and Jill jump in against Stephanie, with all four having to split up those West side votes where they all come out of, while leaving East Baltimore ripe for the pickings, for someone like East Baltimore native Carl Stokes? Then you have the possibility of all these African American leaders running, while a caucasian such as Jody Landers jumps in and grabs the white vote, as the rest of the class split up the less than dominant black vote, leaving Landers the second coming of Martin O'Malley. Therefore what was done last night may only show a preview of what we may see for a multi-leveled municipal election in 2011?
As the Mayor banked on an account of raising about $600,000 last night, SPIN spokesperson Lisa Harlow spoke for Rolley saying that they were "extremely happy and satisfied with last night's showing and that we would see the final numbers on the January 20th filing report." Ms. Harlow, speaking to what she called a "sell-out performance last night", said that everyone in the Rolley camp was very pleased, regarding both the financial and voter-supported attendance and turnout of last night's Cosby event. "This is just the first of many big events we shall have for Otis in the coming months," said Harlow. Yet Mayoral spokesperson Ian Brennan said that while the Rolley event had Mr. Cosby they also had a long list of restrictions placed on the press as the media restrictions for the Mayor were 'zero'! "We had a strong showing for the mayor last night speaking to her popularity amongst supporters, especially when you look at the weather conditions of Baltimore and how residents usually react to such warnings." With a plethora of state and city elected officials in attendance from U.S. Senator Ben Cardin to Governor and Lt. Governor O'Malley and Brown, Congressman Elijah Cummings, City Council President Bernard 'Jack' Young and Councilmembers Stokes, Middleton, Spector and Cole; this showed a tremendous amount of support for someone who has only been Baltimore's Mayor for a little under a year now. "This was a very solid and big event, that raised a considerable amount of money with a very strong showing for the Baltimore Mayor," said Brennan at the end of the night.
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