WASHINGTON — Carol Moseley Braun, a former Illinois senator who was the first African American female to serve in the chamber, endorsed Rep. Donna F. Edwards on Monday in her bid for Senate.
Edwards, of Prince George's County, would follow Moseley Braun as the second black woman to serve in the chamber if she is elected to replace retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski next year.
"Following in the footsteps of Senator Mikulski, Maryland deserves a trailblazing fighter with a record of getting results for working families, and that is exactly what they will get in Donna Edwards," Moseley Braun said in a statement released by the Edwards campaign.
"As the first, and so far the only African-American woman elected to the Senate, I am proud to support Donna's candidacy, and hope her home state will embrace the extraordinary voice and talent she could bring."
The endorsement is an important one for Edwards, whose top competitor -- Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County -- has secured support from two of Maryland's most prominent black leaders, Montgomery County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett and Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III.
Moseley Braun, also a former U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, is Edwards' first high profile endorsement. A Democrat, Moseley Braun served a single term in the Senate from 1993 to 1999.
Van Hollen announced his own endorsement on Monday, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who held the Cabinet post under former President Clinton.
"Chris understands the connection between widening inequality and the corruption of our democracy, and is leading the fight in Congress on both fronts," Reich said in a statement released by the campaign.
"Time and again, he's stood up against Wall Street and the big money special interests to fight for a democracy focused on the public interest."