Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced her campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Ben Cardin on Tuesday, and if successful, she’d make history as the first Black woman to represent Maryland in the upper chamber.
“There aren’t a lot of people like me in the U.S. Senate,” Alsobrooks said of a body where no African American women are currently members. Alsobrooks would also be the first woman in the Old Line State’s 10-person congressional delegation since Barbara Mikulski retired from Maryland’s other Senate seat ahead of the 2016 elections and Rep. Donna Edwards lost the primary to succeed Mikulski to now-Sen. Chris Van Hollen.
Alsobrooks joins what promises to be a competitive Democratic primary. The field already includes Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando, who would likewise be the state’s first African American senator, as well as Rep. David Trone, a wealthy liquor store magnate who has promised to use “a lot” of his own money to win.
Trone showed this week that he means it, launching what his campaign says is a “seven-figure buy” a full year ahead of the May 2024 primary. His initial ad, the first of many that voters can expect to see, focuses on substance abuse and criminal justice reform.
Alsobrooks, by contrast, begins the race without any money stockpiled, but she starts with a base of support in populous Prince George’s County, a Democratic bastion that has long been one of the most affluent majority-Black counties in the country. In 2010, she became the first woman to serve as the county’s top prosecutor, then successfully sought a promotion in 2018 when she ran for executive.
Alsobrooks’ main intra-party foe was Edwards, who had carried Prince George’s County 63-32 in the Senate primary two years earlier despite statewide. But it was Alsobrooks who scored a lopsided 62-24 victory ahead of an uncontested general election, a triumph that made her the first Black woman to lead a Maryland county.
Alsobrooks was initially talked about as a candidate for governor for 2022, but she decided to seek reelection instead. Despite passing on the race, though, she played a big role in the primary by backing former nonprofit head Wes Moore and mobilizing her network behind him. Observers cited that endorsement as one of the reasons that Moore, who carried Prince George’s County 47-21, pulled off a narrow statewide victory on his way to becoming Maryland’s first Black governor.