A prominent fundraising group has created a super PAC on behalf of former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon, who has been eyeing a run in the 2024 mayoral Democratic primary, signaling that Baltimore’s 2024 mayor race is likely to be competitive and expensive.
The Better Baltimore PAC was established last month, state campaign finance records show, by employees of Adeo Advocacy. The consulting firm has not worked with Dixon, who fundraises through Rice Consulting, but paperwork said the PAC was formed to support Dixon.
When reached by The Baltimore Banner, Dixon said she had not heard of the super PAC and that she has yet to make a decision about entering the race. Should Dixon enter the race, it would set up a rematch of the 2020 primary between her and Mayor Brandon Scott.
Super PACs can receive unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations, unions and other political action committees. They can spend that money on an unlimited amount of activities that support a political platform, such as polling and advertisements for a candidate, but they cannot donate to a candidate’s campaign accounts nor coordinate directly with candidates or their parties.
By contrast, Maryland caps donations to candidate campaign accounts at $6,000 per cycle.
Maryland super PACs must file a disclosure report to the board of elections within 48 hours after spending $10,000 or more on campaign materials. The Better Baltimore PAC has not reported any financial activity.
Sophia Silbergeld, a partner at Adeo, declined to comment.
The firm has a strong track record in state and regional Democratic fundraising. Adeo raises money for Zeke Cohen and Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer, who have the second- and third-largest war chests among Baltimore City Council members, each having more than $350,000 on hand.
Adeo also fundraises for Gov. Wes Moore, state Comptroller Brooke Lierman, Baltimore City Comptroller Bill Henry, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. and Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman.
Should Adeo aggressively recruit donations — particularly large donations from political players or those with strong motivation to influence the race — and put them toward advertisements, events and other campaigning in favor of Dixon, it will present a serious challenge to Scott.
Scott’s campaign declined to comment.
The 39-year-old Democrat took office in 2020 and benefits from the name recognition and spotlight that incumbency grants a candidate running for reelection, though many in Baltimore’s political scene view him as vulnerable. Scott has seen a few big wins as mayor, including early success in his public safety plan and a summertime drop in homicides, but some internal polls of other city politicians find residents generally split on his performance in office.
Scott eked out a win in the 2020 primary, earning 29.6% of the vote to Dixon’s 27.5%, with a difference of a few thousand votes.
While Dixon said she was unaware of the super PAC, she said she appreciated the support.
“It would definitely inspire me to enter, because I hate fundraising,” she said. “I used to do it and I do it well, but it’s a serious time commitment. It would definitely be a great encouragement for me.”
Dixon has just under $5,000 in her campaign account, according to the most recently required state board of elections data, which is more than eight months old. Scott reported having nearly $451,000.