Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, whose term was besieged with the death of Freddie Gray in police custody and the subsequent rioting, announced Friday she will not seek re-election.
“Over the past few months, as I’ve been making plans for a vigorous campaign, I realize every moment I spend planning for re-election was time I was taking away from my current responsibilities to the city,” Rawlings-Blake said in a press conference at City Hall.
Rawlings-Blake was working on her re-election campaign, hosting fundraisers and events such as “Mondays with the Mayor" at local bars, according to the Baltimore Sun. Her resignation, which she said she's been pondering for two months, comes in the same week several other candidates entered the mayoral race. Both Councilman Carl Stokes and state Senator Catherine Pugh announced their candidacy this week.
"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 and not my own," she said.
Rawlings-Blake said she is focused on governing Baltimore as the city prepares for the six trials of the police officers charged in connection with Gray's death. The first trial in the Gray case is scheduled for October 13. City officials are preparing more more unrest as a judge ruled that the trials will move forward in Baltimore.
She was elected mayor in February 2010, when then-mayor Sheila Dixon resigned amid a corruption scandal. Prior to that, she was the youngest person to be elected to the City Council.
She said she was not worried about losing a campaign – "I have not lost a campaign since middle school," she said. Rawlings-Blake said she is looking forward to spending more time with her 11-year-old daughter in the years before she heads to high school.
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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