Ex-Baltimore mayor, once convicted of embezzlement, now favorite to fill seat of mayor convicted of fraud

The Baltimore mayoral seat that was vacated last year when Catherine Pugh resigned over a corruption scandal — which led to a three-year prison sentence — now appears likely to be filled by a former mayor who has a past conviction of her own.

With Democratic primary returns still coming in after Tuesday’s vote, the front-runner appears to be Sheila Dixon, who resigned as mayor in 2010 after a jury found her guilty of misdemeanor embezzlement for misappropriating gift cards for the poor.

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The Baltimore mayoral seat that was vacated when Catherine Pugh, left, resigned over a corruption scandal now appears likely to be filled by Sheila Dixon, right, a former mayor who has a past conviction of her own.

The Baltimore mayoral seat that was vacated when Catherine Pugh, left, resigned over a corruption scandal now appears likely to be filled by Sheila Dixon, right, a former mayor who has a past conviction of her own.

Dixon leads a pack of more than 20 Democratic candidates that includes current Acting Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who took office when Pugh stepped down in May 2019 amid allegations related to sales of her self-published children’s book. Pugh ultimately pleaded guilty in November to fraud, conspiracy, and tax-related charges, and in February was sentenced to three years in prison.

Current tallies are based on ballots that had been mailed in and dropped off before Tuesday, according to the Baltimore Sun, with Dixon having received approximately 30 percent of the roughly 75,000 votes that were released by the state elections board. In-person voting sites were delayed in reporting results because of long lines, the newspaper reported.

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There were six voting sites in operation Tuesday, but most votes were expected to be cast by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This is the second time Dixon has tried to mount a political comeback. She ran in 2016, only to lose to Pugh in the Democratic primary. If Dixon wins Tuesday’s primary she is favored to win in November, given that Democrats outnumber Republicans 10-1 in the city.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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