A super PAC supporting the reelection of Mayor Brandon Scott was registered with the Maryland Board of Elections this week, the second such political action committee to pick a side in the mayor’s race.

The Working for Baltimore PAC was registered to chairperson Hannah Thompson, an Anne Arundel County employee. Its treasurer is Tamika Winkler, a political aide to state Sen. Cory McCray, a major ally of Scott’s. The organization has not recorded any donations or spending.

Thompson and Winkler did not answer immediate requests for comment.

Super PACs are unlike regular campaign finance accounts in a few important ways. Maryland campaigns can accept no more than $6,000 per individual donor or business; super PACs can accept unlimited amounts of money. The groups cannot operate in coordination with candidates.

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Maryland super PACs must file a public report within 48 hours of spending $10,000 on advertisements — making their movements easier to track. Standard campaign accounts report their donations and spending at intervals determined by the elections officials.

Big money, big talking point

The pro-Scott group comes shortly after a super PAC supporting Sheila Dixon, Scott’s chief rival in the mayoral Democratic primary, began airing attack ads targeting the incumbent. “Nice guy, bad mayor,” the TV ads declare. They do not mention Dixon.

The pro-Dixon super PAC was formed before she officially entered the race and is financed primarily by real estate developer John “Jack” Luetkemeyer Jr., who’s donated $300,000, as well as David Smith, the chairman of the conservative TV network Sinclair Inc. and new co-owner of The Baltimore Sun, who’s donated $200,000. Alex Smith, the Atlas restaurateur, donated $50,000 in February.

New filings from the pro-Dixon group show that the philanthropist Darielle Linehan donated $25,000 in mid-March. Linehan and her husband Earl Linehan have donated millions to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; the college’s concert hall is named after the couple.

On March 18, the pro-Dixon group paid Canal Partners Media $90,000 for more advertisements. It has also paid Adeo Advocacy, a Baltimore communications and political fundraising firm.

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Scott has fiercely criticized the funders of the pro-Dixon group.

“We all know that super PAC is going to be lying throughout this campaign,” the mayor said of the ads. “I think that the residents of Baltimore are going to be smarter than to to buy into tricks from folks who said that they’re going to be Donald Trump’s mouthpiece” — a reference to comments Smith reportedly made to the former president.

In a statement, Scott campaign manager Nick Machado noted that his team cannot coordinate with super PACs and that the mayor does not share Smith’s values.

“It’s a shame, but not surprising Sheila Dixon won’t say the same,” he said.

Luca Amayo, a Dixon spokesman, said the campaign remains unfazed.

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“Regardless of who comes to Mayor Scott’s rescue, we’ll remain focused on building the growing coalition of Baltimoreans determined to bring an end to the disappointments of this administration and vote in a leader who they know can set this city back on track,” he said in a statement.

The first-term mayor reported $835,000 on hand in mid-January, according to the most recent campaign finance filings. He raised $682,134 in 2023.

Dixon’s campaign reported $370,000 on hand. She raised $523,000 last year, after starting 2023 with several thousand dollars in the bank.

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

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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