Pugh defeats Dixon in close mayoral primary contest

By Sydney Douglas and Brett Buccheri
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writers

State Sen. Catherine Pugh defeated former Mayor Sheila Dixon in the Democratic primary election and will face Republican nominee Alan Walden in the November election.

Pugh won with 36.8 percent of the vote while Dixon received 34.4 percent.

Pugh said in her victory speech, held in front of around 200 supporters at Baltimore Harbor Hotel, that everything she has done has led her to this moment.

“Nobody gave this campaign a chance,” Pugh said. “We couldn’t even get a campaign manager until February.”

Pugh thanked all the unions that stood with her and assured them that they could make effective changes to Baltimore together.

“My message is about inclusion,” Pugh said. “I understand that when families start to grow they don’t chose Baltimore, but I want them to.”

State Sen. Catherine Pugh celebrates Tuesday night after winning the Democratic primary for mayor. Photo by Sydney Douglas.

State Sen. Catherine Pugh celebrates Tuesday night after winning the Democratic primary for mayor. Photo by Brett Buccheri.


The ballroom’s atmosphere was lively and in positive spirits when the doors opened at 8 p.m. DJ ILUV played old school R&B hits while joyful supporters like Tina Covington sang along.

Covington, life-long resident of Baltimore, said she liked Pugh from the moment she met her. Covington said she was looking for a sign from God, and she got it.

“I prayed to God and asked if she was the one, send me a sign,” Covington said. “The next day I walked into church and there she was. As soon as I started talking to her, I felt like I had known her my whole life.”

Covington said Pugh is the change that Baltimore has been waiting for.

“I like that she has a caring heart and is open with you,” Covington said. “But she also has that no nonsense attitude about her. Pugh is the new.”

Also in attendance was Bishop Dennis Proctor, of the A.M.E. Zion Church in Ellicott City. He said he has had his eye on Pugh since her days in the Senate and he likes the changes she proposes.

“Baltimore needs passion,” he said. “I think Baltimore is poised for greatness. We are going to make a tremendous change.”

Among other supporters was Clay Richmond, a Baltimore resident and small-business owner. Richmond said he has been a Pugh supporter since Pugh was a city council person — about 20 years ago.

“She knows what I’m going through being a business owner; trying to keep the lights on and paying employees,” Richmond said. “She’s always been an advocate for small-business owners and she has the fire for it.”

Dixon says she is not bitter about primary loss

A native of Pennsylvania, Pugh brings a business savvy mindset to the mayor’s office. She is the president of her own public relations firm and was the dean of Strayer Business College.

According to her campaign website, Pugh founded the Baltimore Marathon, which has brought about $30 million to the city since 2000. She represents the state’s 40th legislative district.

“We have no throw away citizens in Baltimore,” Pugh said in her speech. “Every child, every adult, every person matters.”

Pugh’s big day got off to a rocky start when 100 people showed up as early as 5 a.m. outside of Pugh’s campaign headquarters because they were promised primary election day jobs.

Upon arrival, the people were told there were no jobs available. Pugh said it was a misunderstanding and the people that showed up would be allowed to work; even if they didn’t work, they were promised pay, according to the Baltimore Sun.

To put the primary results into perspective, Alan Walden won the Republican nomination with 41 percent of the vote and 2,871 total votes. Pugh received 45,360 votes.

Pugh concluded her speech by saying she and her supporters have a lot of work to do and will grow together under her leadership.

“Look you all, we can do this,” she said. “We can do it together.”

Pugh did not mention Sheila Dixon in her speech.

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