By Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg
After a tumultuous first term that effectively began with the death of Freddie Gray, was marked by four years of record homicides, and ended with the sentencing of members of a corrupt police unit, Marilyn Mosby handily won re-election as State’s Attorney for Baltimore City.
The race was perhaps the most contentious and ugly of the primary season in Maryland with Mosby squared off against prominent defense attorney Ivan Bates and former Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah, each pummelling the others week after week.
287 of 296 precincts reported that Mosby garnered 49.2% of the vote, with Bates coming in at 28% and Vignarajah with 22%. Bates has claimed that Mosby and Vignarajah were working together, and while that has not been proven, Mosby may not have fared as well in a two-way race.
The race began seeming that it would be challenge to see which candidate was most progressive, as Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner captured the national imagination and re-imagined what a prosecutor could do.
But as the weather got hot and the homicide rate began to rise again, the candidates started to focus on their own personal records as prosecutors. By that standard, Vignarajah dominated, having spent years prosecuting cases. Bates worked as a prosecutor from 1996-2003 and has worked as a defense attorney ever since, defending “rapists and murderers,” as Mosby put it in one of the few debates.
The candidates spent as much time attacking each other in the later days of the race as they did espousing policy positions—which were not that different.
Mosby’s campaign party—at Melba’s Place on Greenmount Avenue, which is named after Mosby’s spokesperson Melba Saunders—was rocking as a throng of red “Mosby” shirts crowded around the bar and cheered as she spoke.
“Tonight’s victory underscores our collective strength to drive reform and place a stamp on change,” she said to a rapturous crowd. “Tonight’s victory was not promised, but we did it. Together. Tonight’s victory was never about me but about us.”
Across town at Zen West in Belvedere Square, Ivan Bates congratulated Mosby and then said, “When I look at this room it’s clear that we have a movement in this city. It’s clear there’s a segment of the population more than half that truly want change.
But later, he directly challenged Mosby directly. “Free Keith Davis,” he said, referring to a controversial murder case against the first man shot by police after the death of Freddie Gray. He went on to say that the charges against Adnan Syed, the subject of the Serial podcast whose post-conviction hearings have been prosecuted by VIgnarajah, should be dropped and that Mosby should stop prosecuting weed charges “like they have in Philly.”
Many are wondering what Mosby’s second term will bring. On Tuesday, she told the Real News that she promised to take it to “a whole other level with criminal justice reform in Baltimore.” She also praised Krasner’s reforms.
She began and ended her victory speech by thanking God. “He’s never given up on me,” she said of Jesus. “And I will never give up on you, Baltimore.”