Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates threw his support behind Sheila Dixon for mayor, just days after going public with a spat with Mayor Brandon Scott.

Scott, meanwhile, picked up endorsements from Maryland’s U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, who he has spent much of the past two weeks with related to their response to the Key Bridge collapse.

Speaking at Dixon’s campaign headquarters at a midday news conference, Bates said that Scott didn’t share his urgency on addressing quality of life crimes. He said his citation docket, created to try to address low-level crime without making arrests, hasn’t been a success because Scott hasn’t bought in, fearing it would lead to quotas.

“The more I began to have conversations with the mayor, it was clear that he wanted the policies of my predecessor,” Bates said, referring to former State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “There’s no doubt in my mind that if the mayor says this is something that’s important, how do we make this happen, [then] it would happen.”

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Scott, appearing with Cardin and Van Hollen outside of Penn Station, said Bates had not directly raised any concerns to him about how police were carrying out Bates’ goals, though he agreed that his priority is violent crime. Scott said Bates was being “disrespectful” to the efforts of city police.

Baltimore saw the largest single-year decline in homicides in 2023, breaking a streak of eight consecutive years of more than 300 killings. Homicides are down another 24% so far this year compared to the same time last year, and Scott said the gains have been made “without mass arrests” and by providing opportunity to youth.

“Doing it the right way matters,” Scott said.

Instead of lauding those efforts together, Bates said a lack of cohesion threatens further progress and that he was elected to improve quality of life. Dixon’s campaign has sought to draw attention to other types of crime that she says residents across the city want to see addressed, and both she and Bates have stressed that they don’t want to address those crimes through arrests but rather services and community service.

“It’s about being accountable, and being respectful to your community,” Dixon said.

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Bates’ endorsement of Dixon is not necessarily a surprise. Dixon was one of his biggest supporters in his run for state’s attorney, and Bates has weighed in on two other Democratic primary races, appearing in ads for Angela Alsobrooks in her bid for U.S. Senate and stumping for Zeke Cohen in the City Council president race. Ten months into office, a Banner poll last fall showed Bates had the highest approval rating among citywide leaders included in the poll.

But a fissure emerged last week when Scott told The Banner about arrests in a juvenile crime spree that Bates was planning to announce the following day. The mayor’s office said the move was prompted because the State’s Attorney’s Office had not invited Scott to participate; a media advisory was later issued that listed Scott as a participant, despite no outreach to his office. Scott did not attend, though he did send representatives.

Later that day, Bates gave an interview to The Sun in which he said he and Scott had “philosophical differences” over fighting crime and that Scott was not a true partner. He took exception to Scott discussing the juvenile case, likening it to a person who didn’t do work for a group project but “puts their name on it and says they did it.”

Bates was joined at Dixon’s headquarters with City Councilman Eric Costello, who has emerged as a key ally for Bates and Dixon, as well as community representatives from South Baltimore and Southeast Baltimore.

Bates said that in addition to not supporting his citation docket, he said Scott gave police a directive to step up traffic enforcement without consulting his office.

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“My office has to enforce that, and we never, ever had a conversation about that,” Bates said, adding that he worried about potential constitutionality issues related to “treating individuals walking the community different than individuals driving.”

At Penn Station, Van Hollen noted Scott’s early leadership through the pandemic and more recently in response to the Key Bridge collapse.

“Brandon Scott has not only been there, he’s been front and center and leading the charge on behalf of the city,” Van Hollen said.

Scott will pick up additional endorsements on Thursday from SEIU Locals 1199, 32BJ, and 500 “on behalf of 50,000 healthcare, property services, academia and nonprofit workers.”

“Mayor Scott has undertaken major projects to support workers and their families in Baltimore and address wealth disparity in the city, accomplishments his administration will build upon in a second term,” the union said in a statement.