Sheila Dixon has conceded to Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott in the Democratic mayoral primary, putting to rest her third attempt at regaining the office she once held.

In a statement released Friday morning, Dixon said she called her opponent to congratulate him. “His success leading our city is success for us all, so I sincerely wish him all the best in his second term,” the former mayor said.

The Associated Press called the race for Scott late Tuesday night, after he outperformed her on votes cast on election day. Thousands of mail-in ballots are still being counted; Dixon would need to earn a significantly high number of them to surpass Scott’s vote count.

She said previously on Wednesday that she would not concede until the final outstanding batch of mail-in ballots were counted.

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“While this isn’t the outcome we hoped for, I’m profoundly grateful to God and to each and every one of the Baltimoreans who stood with me in this race,” her statement continued. She thanked ”the long-time supporters who put their trust in me once again, and the new supporters who joined the diverse coalition that powered our campaign.”

In a campaign statement, Scott thanked Dixon for what he called her tireless service and commitment to Baltimore.

“This was a hard fought campaign and regardless of any policy disagreements we may share, there is absolutely no disagreement about Sheila Dixon’s passion and love for Baltimore City,” he said.

Dixon was seen as a popular, no-nonsense mayor until prosecutors indicted her on corruption charges. She stepped down from the office in 2010 as part of a plea deal and waged her competitive races on her reputation as a competent manager.

In 2016, she narrowly lost the primary to Catherine Pugh, and in November lost a write-in campaign against her that netted Dixon more votes than she earned that spring.

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Four years later, Dixon again came in a narrow second place to Scott. A year earlier, Pugh resigned as mayor amid scandal and was later found guilty of fraud, conspiracy and tax charges. Scott, who was City Council president at the time, successfully sold himself to voters as a breath of fresh air, ready to root out corruption.

This cycle, he recycled the bulk of his pitch and pointed to his successes in office, from a 2023 homicide reduction that is on track to become even greater in 2024, to a social services program for squeegee workers that helped connect most of the youths who once stood on busy intersections to schools and jobs.

Dixon argued that city services remained mediocre and inadequate and made inroads with endorsements from public officials that once declined to support her. Her campaign earned a boost when attorney Thiru Vignarajah, who was polling in third place behind Dixon and Scott, dropped out of the race and endorsed her.

This year, Dixon was defeated on election day by a much larger margin than her last two primary runs.

Though thousands of mail-in ballots are yet to be counted, Scott has maintained a 12-point lead over Dixon as results roll in. In 2020, he beat her by less than two points.

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On election day, Katia Crosby of Forest Park cast her ballot for Scott, citing the fact he hasn’t done anything “illegal” or “egregious” while in office.

”I couldn’t vote for Sheila Dixon,” the 49-year-old said. “I think if anything, the past four years will give him [Scott] opportunity for growth.”

Lilly Walton, a 24-year-old Canton resident, cast her first Baltimore City primary ballot for the incumbent mayor. She was open to other candidates and read about their proposed platforms, but felt Scott’s policies were starting to pay dividends and should be kept in place. His “ideas still stand out to me,” she said.

Dixon, 70, has said she would not seek office again if she lost the 2024 primary. She made the same pledge after losing in 2020.

Baltimore Banner reporter Kristen Griffith contributed to this article.

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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