Mayor Kurt Schmoke of Baltimore defeated Baltimore City Council President Mary Pat Clarke on Tuesday, September 12, 1995, in what was thought to be a hotly contested Democratic mayoral primary race. With 94 percent of the vote counted, Schmoke held a 58-40 percent lead. The race appeared to be much closer, with last-minute polls giving Schmoke a tenuous 4-point lead. In this heavily Democratic city, a victory in the primary virtually assured Schmoke a general election victory on November 7, for his third term.
Mayor Schmoke has been an outspoken advocate of decriminalization since 1988, when he stirred a controversy with remarks made at the US Conference of Mayors. Recently he was featured on the ABC News Special "War on Drugs: Searching for Solutions." Schmoke is a member of the Board of Directors of the Drug Policy Foundation. (Clarke had called for Schmoke to resign from the DPF board, saying that as mayor she would enact a "zero-tolerance" policy in Baltimore, and that her first act as mayor would be to sign the Atlanta Resolution, the featured document of the Atlanta anti-legalization conference.) Schmoke's victory demonstrates that an elected official can question drug prohibition and still be reelected -- in this case reelected twice.