Angela Alsobrooks’ ability to make history as Maryland’s next senator may have won her some backing in Democratic circles, but she believes her experience as a county executive and her ability to show voters how her family is similar to theirs is how the race will be won.
“The Senate allows me to bring to bear the experience that I have, both as an executive and as a chief law enforcement officer, working on issues that are at the kitchen tables of everyday Maryland families,” Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s County executive, said in an interview this week. “The issues and concerns that they have are literally the issues and concerns and decisions that are at my own kitchen table as a mother of a teenage daughter. I am also the daughter of two aging parents that I’m helping to care for.”
So far, she faces a House incumbent who has spent millions winning past elections and is ready to do it again, Rep. David Trone, as well as Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando and other Democratic candidates who have filed to run but have not reported raising any money. With former two-term Gov. Larry Hogan, the state’s highest-profile Republican, out of the race, the May Democratic primary may be the race’s more competitive election next year in a state President Joe Biden won by 33 percentage points.
State Delegate Jon Cardin, the nephew of retiring Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, said recently he would consider getting into the race if the current field grew. But he told Maryland Matters, “It seems as if the party wants to get behind Alsobrooks.”
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, a former House majority leader who Alsobrooks said was a “senior statesman” in the state, endorsed her campaign last month.
Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race as Solid Democratic.
Trone committed $10 million
For now, Trone and Alsobrooks are winning the crucial money race. Trone, a co-founder of Total Wine & More, has committed nearly $10 million to his campaign and had $5 million on hand at the end of June. Alsobrooks, meanwhile, reported raising $1.7 million as of June 30 and had $1.3 million on hand. That’s more than the $526,000 Jawando reported raising.
Alsobrooks said that she’s had financial support from across the state, which she said proves her message is resonating with voters. She said the act of “going before the people and humbly asking them for their support” is important and means she would be accountable to them if elected.
“There aren’t a lot of people who live like the people they represent. That’s just the truth is that we need people in the Senate who live like the people that they are supposed to represent,” she said.
Both will have resources
Mileah Kromer, an associate professor and director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College in Maryland, said Alsobrooks has proved she can raise the funds to compete with Trone, who has mostly self-funded previous campaigns for the House.
“It will end up being between who can make the better argument to Democratic primary voters,” with both candidates having the resources to get their message out, Kromer said.
Alsobrooks said she has been attending meet-and-greets at supporters’ homes and marching in parades since launching her campaign nearly two months ago. Economic opportunity, safety, health care and defending freedoms are the top issues she said she’s hearing about from voters.
Born in Maryland, Alsobrooks attended Duke University and the University of Maryland School of Law and went on to clerk in two Maryland circuit courts. As an assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, she dealt with domestic violence cases and was later the first woman to be elected Prince George’s County state’s attorney.
First Black county executive
She became the first woman and Black woman to be elected a Maryland county executive in 2018. And, if elected to the Senate, she could create more history.
Alsobrooks would be the state’s first Black senator and could become the third Black woman ever elected to the Senate. Voters in Delaware and California could also send Black women to the Senate next year.
She’d also join a congressional delegation that has been all male since Barbara A. Mikulski and Donna Edwards left Congress in 2017.
Kromer said female representation in the delegation is “clearly something that is missing” that people in the state have noticed.
Still, Alsobrooks said race and gender would be among many factors that voters are considering for next year.
“The other factors include experience, and I believe that I have the best experience of anyone in the race, given the opportunity I’ve had to be up close and personal with families to understand what they care about, what their concerns are,” she said.