BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The city is just over two months away from the start of Maryland’s early voting in the general election.

WJZ’s Paul Gessler is talking to candidates for mayor, which include an independent candidate who collected enough votes to appear on the ballot.

Baltimore City has a heavily Democratic electorate, but challengers to Democratic nominee Brandon Scott want a shot at shaping the city’s future.

Business owner Bob Wallace will be on November’s ballot as an Independent for the city’s mayor.

“I’m in this race to win this,” he said.

The longtime Republican, now Independent, cites the city’s crime rate and lack of economic opportunity for why he’s running.

“We have teenagers, 12 and 13-years-old being shot and being hurt. But what do you hear from the leaders in the city? You hear nothing,” Wallace said.

“Independent is cute, but in a time when Baltimore is facing so many issues, it needs a leader who is willing to stand up,” said Republican mayoral nominee Shannon Wright.

Unlike Wallace, Republican Shannon Wright has run for city office before- losing in 2016 to Jack Young for council president.

The pastor said education is her priority.

“Education, economic development- sensible economic development, and making our streets safer,” Wright said.

She said the president’s recent criticism of problems plaguing Baltimore reflects on failed leadership.

“The problem isn’t what’s being said. The problem is our elected leaders have failed to be able to change that reality,” Wright said.

The two face a tough challenge, squaring off with Democratic nominee Brandon Scott.

Republicans, the past five mayoral elections, have topped off at 13 percent in the general election.

“If you contrast and compare, you have to say this guy is a better option for you right now. Nothing against Brandon Scott,” Wallace said.

“We’ll treat this campaign the same way we treated the primary campaign. We’re going to take it very seriously, but again, focused on moving Baltimore forward,” Scott said.

David Harding will also be on the ballot, representing the Working Class Party.

Early voting begins October 26.

Paul Gessler

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