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Ben Jealous backs Donna Edwards in Md. Senate race

Benjamin Todd Jealous
Benjamin Todd Jealous (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Benjamin Jealous, the former head of the NAACP who briefly flirted with running for Maryland's open Senate seat last year, endorsed Rep. Donna F. Edwards for the job on Friday, pointing to her commitment to urban communities and criminal justice reform.

Jealous, a 43-year-old Baltimore native, was widely credited with expanding the advocacy mission and improving the finances of the Baltimore-based National Association for the Advancement of Colored People from 2008 to 2013. He has more recently been campaigning for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

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"Since coming to Congress, Donna has been leading the fight for good jobs, investments in our urban communities, and a criminal justice system that is fair and equitable," Jealous said in a statement released by the Edwards campaign. "In the Senate, she will be a voice for Maryland's working families, and a champion for civil rights and social justice."

Two people close to Jealous told the New York Times last year that he was considering a run for the seat, days after Sen. Barbra A. Mikulski announced she would not seek a sixth term but before Edwards got into the race. Jealous then never took any additional overt steps toward mounting a campaign.

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Edwards, of Prince George's County, is running against Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County for the Democratic nomination.

The Van Hollen campaign released a statement from three Maryland civil rights leaders, Tessa Hill-Aston of Baltimore, Linda Plummer of Montgomery County and June White Dillard of Prince George's County, arguing that Van Hollen "forges deep and lasting relations with a diverse range of people and organizations."

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