City Councilman Bill Henry declared victory over longtime incumbent Joan Pratt in the race for city comptroller, while City Council President Brandon Scott’s lead over Sheila Dixon widened slightly in the Baltimore City Democratic mayoral primary Monday night.
The preliminary results showed Henry with nearly 11,000 more votes than Pratt. That’s 54.1% of the vote to Pratt’s 45.9%. The councilman from North Baltimore led the Comptroller since preliminary results were first posted on primary day last week. His lead has grown every day since then.
In a statement Monday night, Henry said that the preliminary results made it clear that he will be the Democratic nominee for City Comptroller in November’s general election.
“Thanks to the efforts and generosity of so many, this campaign was able to successfully reach the voters of Baltimore City with a simple, powerful message: after 24 years, it’s time for change,” Henry said.
His statement refers to Pratt’s six terms in office, in which she faced no serious challengers. Henry declared his run for comptroller last spring, in the midst of the Healthy Holly scandal that forced former Mayor Catherine Pugh from office and to a jail sentence she is not yet serving.
Pratt ran a luxury consignment store with Pugh, who used the store to illegally funnel money into her campaign. Pratt prepared the store’s annual tax returns, and has repeatedly said that she had no idea the role her store played in the Healthy Holly scandal. She has not been charged with any crimes. She could not be reached for comment on Monday night.
“What we’ve heard all along is that the people of Baltimore City want a city comptroller who serves as a proactive financial watchdog and fights for transparency and accountability,” Henry’s statement continued. “They want a comptroller who will keep an eye on the mayor and city agencies. They want a comptroller who’s focused on pulling back the curtain, and letting all of us see how city government is really running and how our money is being spent.”
Henry is the first citywide candidate to declare victory in this election cycle. In deep blue Baltimore, winning the Democratic primary is tantamount to winning the general election in November.
In the mayor’s race, City Council President Brandon Scott’s razor-thin lead over former mayor Sheila Dixon increased to 1% on Monday night; he first surpassed her vote count on Sunday.
Dixon first held a lead over Scott when preliminary results consisting of early mail-in ballots were first published last Tuesday. The council president’s numbers have been boosted more so than Dixon’s every step in the count since then. He now holds 29.1%, with 41,420 votes while Dixon is at 28.1% with 40,035 votes. They are separated by just 1,385 votes.
After statistically winning the City Council President's race on Sunday night, Del. Nick Mosby issued a statement saying he would not take any victory laps.
"Amid the COVID-19 global pandemic and at a moment in time where so many are hurting and cities across our country are at the brink of chaos because of police brutality and systemic inequity, we don’t have the luxury of a victory lap or prolonged celebrations," Mosby said in a statement Monday afternoon. "It’s time to get to work on behalf of the people we are blessed to serve."
The preliminary data is updated daily, as mail-in ballots continue to arrive at the Baltimore City Board of Elections’ vote count warehouse.
About 150,000 ballots have been counted; canvassing will resume Tuesday at 9 a.m.. City elections head Armstead Jones said workers will finish counting the remaining mail-in ballots and move to sorting through 2,000 provisional ballots on Wednesday.