Del. Sandy Rosenberg of Northwest Baltimore has endorsed Sheila Dixon for mayor, flipping his endorsement of four years ago when he backed Mayor Brandon Scott.

Rosenberg is the first endorsement from an elected official in the 2024 race, a rematch of 2020 where Scott narrowly defeated Dixon in a crowded primary.

“We need a mayor who knows that city services need to be addressed, not just during an election year,” Rosenberg said Wednesday morning in the neighborhood of Glen, at the corner of Park Heights Avenue and Northern Parkway. He criticized what he called the Scott administration’s lack of urgency in finding solutions to both short-term and long-term problems, saying staffers take too long to reply to both his and his constituents’ service requests.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Dixon, who served as mayor from 2007 until she resigned in 2010 as part of a guilty plea on a perjury charge, thanked Rosenberg, saying she will run her campaign “not talking about past successes but looking to the future.”

“Quality of life is important,” she continued. “Crime is down, but people don’t feel safe.”

Scott, who is seeking a second term, nabbed more than a few endorsements in 2020, but his campaign chose to elevate Rosenberg’s near the top of the list. At the time, Rosenberg called Scott “a leader with a track record of rolling up his sleeves and getting things done, while never settling for the way things are just because that’s how things have been done.”

In a statement, Scott’s campaign manager Nick Machado said it’s unfortunate that Rosenberg would rather see the city go backward.

“Sheila Dixon is right about one thing: delays in city services span across administrations, especially her own. Mayor Scott has made record investments in education, community development, and city agencies to reverse the disinvestment in our communities which is how we remain committed to moving Baltimore City forward instead of going back to the past,” Machado said.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Rosenberg, who first entered the State House in 1983, has not backed Dixon for mayor before. He endorsed his then-fellow Del. Catherine Pugh in the Democratic mayoral primary in 2016, another primary in which Dixon finished second.

Sitting politicians tend to endorse their fellow incumbent officials. And in a competitive race with two leading candidates with as much name recognition as Scott and Dixon, who as current and former mayors can point to their track records and have sturdy donor bases, endorsements may carry more meaning than usual — for both the candidates who receive them and the officials who give them.

A few officials have signaled that they will wait until much later in the race to endorse, including Senate President Bill Ferguson, who recently headlined a fundraiser for incumbent City Councilman Eric Costello.

A recent poll from The Baltimore Banner and Goucher College suggests that the May 14 primary was competitive with about eight months to go until primary day. Among city Democrats surveyed, 39% said they would vote for Dixon and 27% said they would vote for Scott if the election were held today. Another 23% prefer “some other candidate.”

The Goucher-Banner poll surveyed 711 registered Baltimore voters — and 537 registered Democrats within that sample — by cellphone and landline from Sept. 19-23. Democrats’ responses have a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Last week, Bob Wallace, the independent candidate who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2020, announced he would run in 2024 as a Democrat.

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.

More From The Banner