Zeke Cohen leads Nick Mosby and Shannon Sneed in the fundraising race for City Council president, reporting more than $522,000 available for the race to lead the council.

Mosby reported a balance of just under $200,000, while Sneed reported a balance of $169,500. The former councilwoman tapped into a city program that matches donations for political candidates that eschew large donations and money from PACs and unions.

The next round of pre-primary campaign finance reports are due on April 4 and will encompass mid-January to early April. Another round will be due on May 3.

The primary is May 14. In deep-blue Baltimore, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 10-to-1, winning in the primary is tantamount to winning in November.

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Nick Mosby

The past two years have been slow for Mosby: he logged just one donation in 2022. This time last year, he reported having just under $15,000 in cash. Now, as the primary election approaches, he’s hitting the ground running: Most of his donations on this report were logged after early December.

David Bramble, the MCB developer tasked with revitalizing Harborplace, donated $2,000 to Mosby. The investors behind Cross Keys donated $1,000 through an LLC. John Paterakis and Stephen Paterakis, members of the bakery magnate family that developed Harbor East, each donated $1,000.

Sen. Antonio Hayes donated $2,500 through his campaign. Sheila Dixon and former mayor Jack Young donated $250 and $1,000, respectively, through their campaign accounts. Former mayor Kurt Schmoke gave $1,000. Baltimore City Solicitor Ebony Thompson gave $1,000.

The Baltimore Gas and Electric PAC donated $1,000. K.E.Y.S. Development gave $1,000. Spiniello Companies also gave $1,000. Desmond Stinnie, who operates the Baltimore City Voters Facebook group, gave $1,000.

Mark Sapperstein, the CEO of Walker Development, gave $6,000, the maximum individual contribution. So did Alex Smith of Atlas Restaurant Group, and his wife, Christina Ghani of Visit Baltimore. Mosby logged a total of 7 maximum donations, including from MCB Property Services, One Call Concepts, 3 R.E. Harrington Plumbing & Heating Co., and Comm-Foods, Inc.

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“The unwavering support from so many communities means so much because I’ve lived their struggles, I’ve felt the pain in their voices, and I’ve shared the highs and lows with them over the last few decades,” Mosby said in a statement.

In a statement, Mosby said he thinks the amount of funds raised in a short amount of time demonstrates energy and momentum for his re-election campaign.

“My focus for the last three years has been the business of this city and leading our City Council rather than campaigning,” he said. “Other than being a father to two beautiful daughters, my highest honor is representing my neighbors across Baltimore in City Hall and giving every one of them a well-deserved seat at the table.”

Zeke Cohen

Cohen currently represents the council’s 1st District and reported having $370,000 on hand in January of last year, before he publicly announced his campaign.

Ephrem Abebe of Ekiben gave $6,000. So did his parents, Dr. Joan Berzoff and Lewis Cohen. Giovanni Marcantoni of VOLO, Lesley Malin of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and Betsy Krieger also donated the maximum individual donation. Businesses that gave the maximum include Canton Port Services LLC and Gold and Black LLC.

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Del. Mark Edelson transferred Cohen $6,000 from his campaign account. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman gave $500, while Del. Jared Solomon of Montgomery County gave $2,000.

Cohen received $18,250 from state PACs.

The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local #37 PAC donated $6,000, as did the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 486 PAC. The Baltimore Fire Fighters, Local 734 PAC donated a total of $3,500. Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters PAC donated $2,000. The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Together PAC donated $500. CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Associates’ PAC donated $250.

The UNITE HERE TIP State and Local Fund, an out-of-state-PAC, donated $6,000 to Cohen.

Shannon Sneed

Sneed is the first citywide candidate to tap into Baltimore’s Fair Election Fund. Council president candidates become eligible for the donation matching program by earning at least 250 qualifying contributions totaling $15,000. Participants must eschew donations from individuals that are larger than $150, as well as any money from political action committees, corporations, labor organizations, or a state or local central committee of a political party.

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She received 415 donations from city residents. The average donation was $75.81.

Sneed raised about $33,000 from donors. The city’s public financing fund uses a specific calculator to match donations — the first $25 of each donor contribution is matched 9-to-1 by the fund, so a $25 donation would be matched by $225. The city’s match is reduced the larger the donation is. City council president candidates can receive a maximum of $425,000 from the Fair Election Fund.

Sneed’s report lists $169,464 on hand, but the campaign is awaiting another $54,181.50 from the city in matched funds, said campaign manager Kevin Gillogly. Baltimore disburses matched funds to publicly-financed candidates in batches.

Notable donations include $100 from Councilman Antonio Glover, $150 from former Scott public safety official Shantay Jackson, $150 from Del. Caylin Young, and $150 from Paris Bienert, who ran unsuccessfully against Cohen in the 2020 1st District Democratic primary.

Sneed also received $100 from Kimberly Klacik, a two-time Republican nominee for Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. She lost both times to Rep. Kweisi Mfume.

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“Baltimore residents deserve ethical, transparent, and accountable leadership, and I have promised to be ‘Unbought and Unbossed’ like Shirley Chisholm,” Sneed said in a written statement.

Public financing has “allowed me to have direct and meaningful conversations with residents of Baltimore, in contrast to my opponents who receive thousands of dollars from big developers and other interests,” she wrote.

A previous version of this article misspelled Kevin Gillogly's name.

Emily Sullivan covers Baltimore City Hall. She joined the Banner after three years at WYPR, where she won multiple awards for her radio stories on city politics and culture. She previously reported for NPR’s national airwaves, focusing on business news and breaking news.

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