Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, her political future in doubt after being criticized for her handling of her city’s turmoil after the death of Freddie Gray, said Friday she would not run for another term.
The surprising announcement came as the city braced for the possibility of more unrest. Parts of Baltimore erupted in protest, and rioting in April following Gray’s death while in police custody. The first trial for police officers charged in the case is scheduled to begin October 13.
Earlier this week, the city agreed to pay Gray’s family $6.4 million to settle civil claims over his injury. Gray was 25 and died after being injured while in police custody.
Prominent challengers to Rawlings-Blake were starting to mount campaigns. She said Friday she thought she could win another term.
"It was a very difficult decision, but I knew I needed to spend time, the remaining 15 months of my term, focused on the city's future, not my own," she told a news conference.
The daughter of State Del. Howard “Pete” Rawlings, the first African-American to chair the Maryland House of Delegates Appropriations Committee, Rawlings-Blake, 45, was seen as a thoughtful executive, succeeding Sheila Dixon, who left office after being embroiled in an embezzlement scandal. Rawlings-Blake won a full term in 2011.
Her decision had echoes of a similar decision by another scion of a popular Baltimore family. In 1971, Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro III, who led the city during 1968 riots, declined to seek another term. His father had been mayor. His sister is House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.