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Rawlings-Blake announces Baltimore mayoral bid

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake got help from top Maryland Democrats on Monday as she launched her bid to stay in office.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Rep. Elijah Cummings joined the mayor at her childhood home in northwest Baltimore for the announcement. They painted Rawlings-Blake, who ascended to the mayor’s office after former Mayor Sheila Dixon stepped down last year amid scandal, as a strong leader who has already proven herself.

The mayor is part of a new generation of leaders and everything she has done up to this point has prepared her for this challenge, Cummings said.

“She came into office under difficult circumstances but over and over again she showed us the way she did not necessarily tell us what we wanted to hear, but she told us truthfully what we needed to hear,” he said.

O’Malley, a former city mayor himself, described Rawlings-Blake as the Cal Ripken of Baltimore politics.

“There’s no drama, she goes out and does the job,” he said. “There’s no hyperbole, she goes out and does the job and some days it hurts to do the job.”

She’s the strong woman the city needs now and “the proof is in the progress” seen during her tenure, including continued decreases in homicides and the closing of a record deficit, O’Malley said.

Rawlings-Blake said Monday that when she became mayor, she made a commitment to being honest and not making “pie-in-the-sky” promises.

“We’re here together because we want real progress not empty promises,” Rawlings-Blake told hundreds of supporters on the tree-lined street where she grew up. “We are here together because we know that doing the right thing — the true thing — is not always easy. It’s not always the popular thing, but it is the only way to get results.”

Rawlings-Blake has been collecting endorsements for months and filed papers to run in the Democratic primary before Monday’s announcement.

She faces several challengers in the primary: former city planning director Otis Rolley, former Councilman Joseph T. “Jody” Landers, Circuit Court Clerk Frank Conaway and nurse Wilton Wilson have already filed. State Sen. Catherine Pugh has announced her candidacy and Councilman Carl Stokes is considering a run. One Republican, Vicki Ann Harding, has filed for the GOP primary.