In a surprising turn of events, former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, who was convicted of embezzlement more than a decade ago, has declared her candidacy for the city’s mayoral race in 2024. Dixon’s announcement comes after her resignation in 2010 as part of a plea agreement in a corruption case related to the misappropriation of donated gift cards.
In an op-ed published in The Baltimore Sun, Dixon expressed remorse for her past actions and formally declared her candidacy. This marks her third attempt at a mayoral bid since her tumultuous tenure as mayor ended in scandal.
Dixon is set to compete in the Democratic primary against the incumbent Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott, who is seeking a second term.
In December 2009, a jury found Dixon guilty of embezzlement for using gift cards, donated to City Hall for charity, for personal expenses instead. Instead of using these cards to aid the less fortunate, Dixon spent around $500 at Target and Best Buy on items for herself, her family, and her staff. Subsequently, additional perjury charges against her were dropped, and Dixon served four years of probation along with fulfilling other requirements. She was also prohibited from seeking political office for two years.
In her letter to The Baltimore Sun, Dixon offered a renewed apology, underscoring that her conviction was for a misdemeanor offense.
“I have truly made mistakes in my personal life, one of which resulted in a misdemeanor charge that forced my resignation from the job I loved the most,” she wrote. “I let matters of the heart lead me astray once before, and for that, and the pain that it caused to my beloved Baltimore, I am truly sorry. I hope the people realize that my love for the future of Baltimore outweighs the mistakes of my past.”
Dixon, who was Baltimore’s first female mayor, has highlighted her accomplishments during her tenure, which included efforts to reduce violent crime, improve infrastructure, and revitalize neglected neighborhoods. Under her leadership, the city’s homicide rate decreased, and arrests declined.
A native of Baltimore, Dixon served on the City Council for several years before becoming mayor.
During a recent news conference, Dixon emphasized her commitment to learning from her past mistakes and her ability to effectively govern in the best interest of Baltimore residents. She stated that she continues to receive calls from people in need and highlighted her recent efforts to assist a mother of three living out of her car.
Dixon’s campaign will focus on public safety, education, and government accountability, and she pledged to work tirelessly to improve the lives of Baltimore’s most vulnerable citizens.
“I’m the most transparent person, the most trustworthy person because when you make mistakes … you do everything to improve upon yourself, and that’s a daily job that you have to do,” Dixon declared to her supporters during the press conference.