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October 21, 2010

Shouldn't you be running along?

Catherine PughState Sen. Catherine Pugh founded the Baltimore Running Festival a decade ago and has remained involved with the event ever since. So it should have been no surprise that she’d show up last week at a news conference to promote the marathon at Under Armour’s corporate headquarters.

But it sounds as if her appearance did not go over well with the mayor’s office.

A source who was there tells me that Renee Samuels, a special assistant to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, asked Pugh to leave before the event got underway.

Pugh not only ignored the request, I’m told, but had a chair brought forward so she could sit with race organizers and other dignitaries at the front of the room.

Pugh, said to be on Rawlings-Blake’s bad side because she is considering a run for mayor herself, did not dispute the story when I called. But she wasn’t commenting, either.

“I have a lot of things I’m focused on,” she said. “Negativity is not one of them.”

I also phoned Samuels and said I’d heard she’d asked Pugh to leave.

“Did you?” she asked. She referred me to the mayor’s communications office.

I emailed Rawlings-Blake spokesman Ryan O’Doherty, telling him what I’d heard.

“Sound realistic to you?” he wrote back.

Well, yeah.

“Sen. Pugh and many other officials attended the press event from beginning to end,” he said in a follow-up e-mail. “Of course, no one ever asked anyone to leave the event.”

I also called Lee Corrigan, whose Corrigan Sports Enterprises puts on the race, to ask about the most taxing part of the marathon. Not running 26.2 miles, but managing two mayoral rivals in the same room. He laughed.

“I’m going to have to do the diplomatic thing and say, ‘No comment’ on that point because I don’t want to get myself in a bad spot with either one,” he said. “I love both of them. They’re both very supportive of the event.”

But is it true that the mayor’s office tried to oust Pugh from the press conference?

“The only thing I’ll say is Catherine Pugh did a terrific job helping us get this off the ground,” Corrigan said, “and Stephanie has done a wonderful job continuing to support the event.”


Sun photo of Catherine Pugh by Amy Davis

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:29 AM | | Comments (2)


Sounds to me like you're trying to make something out of nothing.

I agree with Eve. Julie, this seems like a lot of space wasted on a whole lotta nothin'.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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