Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot says he wants fresh blood in Baltimore leadership.
One of the first prominent Democrats to call for Mayor Catherine Pugh's resignation, she said the questions and investigations surrounding her business dealings have created a "crisis of confidence" that will make it difficult for Baltimoreans to trust her on the little things, like trash pickup and addressing violent crime.
"Sorry to be harsh, but she needs to resign yesterday," Franchot told C4 on Tuesday.
Pugh went on a leave of absence to recover from a bout of pneumonia. The leave began hours after Gov. Larry Hogan asked the state prosecutor's office to look into issues related to sales of her "Healthy Holly" books. Buyers included political allies and a company seeking a city contract.
On Monday, the entire City Council called on Pugh to resign, and the city's House delegation followed. However, Pugh said she intends to return to work.
"If the mayor thinks that she is going to stay in office, I cannot imagine her being there without indictments being lodged against her," Franchot said. "So why not step aside gracefully and allow the city to address this crisis in confidence?"
He said that whether Pugh stays or goes, the city needs leaders who aren't part of Baltimore's political establishment. In particular, he mentioned state Sen. Mary Washington, who he endorsed in her successful 2018 primary election challenge of incumbent Joan Carter Conway.
"We need to get new leaders in who are in politics for the right reason, not to line their pockets and grease their palms and have some kind of bribery system set up," Franchot said. "We need politicians that are actually honest and competent and have integrity."
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