Sheila Dixon, the former Baltimore mayor looking to win back the city’s highest political office, is no longer the frontrunner in the April 26 Democratic primary.
As we explored in our April print issue, Dixon is attempting to make a comeback after being convicted of embezzling gift cards for poor families and resigning from office in 2010.
Polls in November 2015 and January of this year showed Dixon with a comfortable lead over a crowded field. But after our April print issue went to press, a March poll showed Dixon’s closest rival, state Sen. Catherine Pugh, had won over some undecided voters and closed the gap between them. Today, another poll shows Pugh now has a clear lead over Dixon.
The election is scheduled a year after the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man who died while in police custody. Gray’s death sparked riots in some parts of the city and put Baltimore at the center of a national debate over police brutality and how it disproportionately harms black residents.
There are more than a dozen Democratic candidates, including DeRay Mckesson, a Black Lives Matter activist who joined at the last minute; Nick Mosby, a first-term councilman; and Carl Stokes, another councilman. A Republican hasn't won the mayoralty since the 1960s.
Last November, a poll by OpinionWorks, the Annapolis-based firm that surveyed likely voters on behalf of The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore, found that 24 percent supported Dixon and 13 percent supported Pugh. About 26 percent said they were undecided.
By comparison, today’s poll, conducted by the same firm, found that 31 percent supported Pugh, 25 percent supported Dixon and only 14 percent were undecided.
Today’s poll results were based on a sample of 400 likely Democratic primary voters, conducted April 1-4, with a 4.9 percent margin of error.