State Sen. Catherine E. Pugh has opened up a clear lead over former Mayor Sheila Dixon as the mayor's race enters its final weeks, according to a new poll for The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore.

Pugh, who has gained support steadily over recent weeks, is the choice of 31 percent of likely Democratic primary voters, the poll shows. She's followed by Dixon, who is in second place with 25 percent after leading or being tied for first in previous polls. Lawyer Elizabeth Embry is a distant third with 9 percent.

"Senator Pugh is clearly the one in command now in this race," said Steve Raabe, president of OpinionWorks, the Annapolis-based firm that conducted the poll. "She is leading and widening her lead."

The new poll results come as Pugh has spent more at The Baltimore Sun