City Councilman Brandon Scott has been unanimously elected as Council President by his colleagues after four days of leadership upheaval following the resignation of Mayor Catherine Pugh.
Scott and Sharon Green Middleton, the council vice president who had been filling in as president, had been tied in colleagues’ pledges for votes over the weekend, until Scott own over a few more members, including veteran councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.
"We wanted to have a unanimous vote to show unity," Clarke, who nominated Scott for president on Monday, said. "Brandon is a good guy."
The chain of events was set up when Pugh resigned under pressure after reports of her Healthy Holly book deals surfaced and former City Council City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young dropped the “ex officio” from his title and officially became mayor.
At that point, the council president role was anyone’s for the taking.
Scott, a second term councilman, won the vote Monday night and was sworn in by Mayor Young.
The new city council president said he will focus on battling gun violence, improving schools and restoring trust in Baltimore city government throughout his term, which will run through December 2020.
Baltimore I am deeply humbled by all the well wishes I've received since being sworn in as Council President yesterday. Though I may try I will not be able to respond to them all, but know that every text, email, call, tweet, inbox message and car horn honk truly touched me. pic.twitter.com/5iBZaJDI0w
— Brandon M. Scott (@CouncilPresBMS) May 7, 2019
“I have known President Scott for more than a decade, and I am confident that he will serve the citizens of Baltimore to the best of his abilities,” said Mayor Young. “In President Scott, Baltimore gains a dedicated public servant who will use the legislative process to move our city forward.”
Scott’s council peers joined the mayor in congratulating him.
Mazel Tov to my brother, friend, and PRESIDENT @CouncilmanBMS
Brandon is the real deal. He embodies the best of Baltimore. I look forward to working with you to move our great city forward.
— Zeke Cohen (@Zeke_Cohen) May 6, 2019
Congratulations to our next City Council President, @CouncilmanBMS. A huge thanks goes to @CCMiddleton6 for her leadership and grace during this challenging time. Looking forward to working with both leaders and Mayor @prezjackyoung as we get back to the work ahead!
— Eric Costello (@CouncilmanETC) May 6, 2019
"We've got two great guys as mayor and president, with lots of experience between them," Clarke said.
Scott, 35, grew up in Park Heights and graduated from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School. He received a degree in political science from St. Mary’s College and entered Baltimore politics as an aid of then-City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Scott was first elected to the council at age 27 and heads the Public Safety Committee.
The council is to elect a replacement to represent Scott’s second district.
Scott is expected to run for mayor in 2020, which would leave the council president’s seat open and set off another round of leadership upheaval in the city.
Clarke, 77, announced she will not run for re-election to her 14th district seat. "I had been thinking about it for a long time," the longtime politician told WYPR on Tuesday. "I really believe it's time for a new generation to help the council and the 14th district do good work."
"And anyone who wants to run for my seat had better start now," she added.
Councilman Edward Reisinger, of the 10th district, has also said he will not seek re-election. Meanwhile, Councilman Bill Henry, of the 4th district, is to launch a campaign for Baltimore City Comptroller next month. Mayor Young has said he doesn’t want to remain Mayor past this term and most likely will run for his old job as City Council President.