Mayor Brandon Scott’s campaign will air its first TV and radio ads this week, selling him, as one grandmother declares, as “the kind of young man we can all be proud of.”

The four new ads mark a continued strategy by the campaign to tout Scott’s accomplishments and allude to the corruption scandal of former mayor Sheila Dixon, his chief Democratic primary opponent, without naming her.

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The ads were originally slated to start appearing on TV and radio Tuesday, the day after Scott delivered the final State of the City address of this term. His campaign delayed the ads after the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapsed into the Patapsco River early that morning when a cargo ship leaving the Port of Baltimore struck it.

Two TV commercials, one radio ad and one digital ad pitch the same set of accomplishments and persona: an effective official who has opened new rec centers and schools, implemented a successful program to get squeegee youth workers off of busy intersections, and overseen a 20% reduction in homicides year over year.

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The ads do not mention the Key Bridge collapse, which has caused a surge of national press coverage for the mayor.

Scott, a first-term mayor, narrowly beat Dixon in the 2020 primary. He also once again faces attorney Thiru Vignarajah in the mayoral primary, as well as Bob Wallace, a businessman who ran as an independent candidate that cycle. The primary election is May 14.

“I’ll be honest, I had my doubts about Brandon Scott,” begins a 60-second radio ad, narrated by an older woman who identifies herself as a grandmother. “New, young mayor, but some of the same old promises we’ve heard before.”

The narrator then delves into the laundry list of Scott’s accomplishments, before concluding the results were delivered “the right way — no scandal and no corruption.”

Dixon resigned from the mayor’s office in 2010, as part of a plea deal with prosecutors that ended a yearslong corruption investigation. This cycle marks her third run for mayor since leaving office. Dixon has maintained a hearty base. In the 2016 and 2020 primaries, she came in second by just a few points.

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One 30-second TV ad for Scott features two youth advocates who boost the mayor as an uncompromised official moving the city “in the right direction.” The mayor echoes the claim in a second TV ad, in which he pledges to keep “moving Baltimore forward, not backwards.”

The same ad centers on the importance of promoting the city’s youth. “It’s why we’ve renovated and opened rec centers, not closed them,” Scott said, a dig at prior mayors. Dixon cut funding for rec centers in 2009, following budget concerns tied to the Great Recession. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who succeeded Dixon, closed down or privatized several rec centers.

In a statement, Dixon campaign spokesman Luca Amayo said no amount of media can obscure Scott’s record when it comes to delivering basic city services and spending federal stimulus money.

“It is especially audacious for him to tout his record on crime in a time when both police officers and the State’s Attorney’s office are loudly and publicly decrying the lack of support they are getting from City Hall,” he said in a statement.

Dixon’s campaign has not aired television or radio ads. A super PAC that by law must operate independently from her campaign this month began airing attack ads against Scott, which do not mention Dixon. “Nice guy, bad mayor,” declare the ads, which portray Scott as a bumbling official in over his head.

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The political action committee is funded largely by David Smith, chairman of Sinclair Inc. and new co-owner of The Baltimore Sun, and real estate developer John “Jack” Luetkemeyer Jr., who have donated a combined $500,000.

A new super PAC supporting Scott’s campaign was registered by aides to Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and state Sen. Cory McCray, two political allies of the mayor. It has not reported any fundraising or spending.

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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