Gov. Wes Moore is backing Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in next year’s U.S. Senate race in Maryland, providing her a key endorsement that could give her significant fundraising and organizational support ahead of the Democratic primary.
Moore is perhaps the most impactful in a long list of high-profile endorsements for Alsobrooks as she faces U.S. Rep. David Trone, a wealthy congressman from Montgomery County who has already outspent her 10-1.
As the effective leader of the party in Maryland and a rising star in national Democratic politics, Moore has extensive political backing across the state and beyond. His 2022 gubernatorial campaign — his first time seeking elected office — raised more money than any other candidate in a crowded field of experienced Democratic officials, and his win last November against a far-right conservative elicited more votes than any other candidate for governor in Maryland history. He has since taken on a top fundraising role for the Democratic Governors Association and is a close ally of President Joe Biden.
His endorsement of Alsobrooks is also something of a full-circle moment. Her early endorsement of his campaign in the 2022 primary was considered a meaningful boost in Prince George’s County, home to the largest number of registered Democrats in the state. Moore’s large victory there helped put him over the edge in a close primary statewide.
Alsobrooks and Moore announced the endorsement at a rally Monday in Baltimore, just three days after a friend of Moore’s, Montgomery Councilman Will Jawando, exited the primary after nearly six months of campaigning. Jawando also threw his support behind Alsobrooks on Monday.
Moore mentioned several pressing federal issues among his reasons for supporting Alsobrooks now — reproductive health care policies like abortion coming under fire by the majority-conservative Supreme Court, senior military nominations being held up by individual Republican senators, and the potential for a federal government shutdown in less than a month.
“In this moment of promise and peril, we need to rally behind a person with vision and intention,” Moore said to a crowd of about 125 Alsobrooks supporters, many wearing her green campaign shirts. “We need to rally behind the person who shares both the empathy and the track record to meet this moment.”
In an interview with reporters after his speech, Moore said he would be “fully engaged in the race” and help make sure Alsobrooks has the resources and “other political supports” she needs to win.
She has received other coveted endorsements from U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, as well as U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume and state Senate President Bill Ferguson, both from Baltimore, and state House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones of Baltimore County.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Baltimore, a Democrat whose retirement from the seat after three six-year terms created the open position, has not endorsed a candidate in the May 14 primary and had no plans to do so as of Monday, a spokesperson said.
If she succeeds, Alsobrooks would be the first Black Marylander elected to the U.S. Senate.
She would also be possibly the only Black woman in the chamber. There have been just three in the Senate’s 234-year history: incumbent Democrat Laphonza R. Butler of California and former senators Kamala Harris of California (now vice president) and Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois. Butler was appointed this month to fill the seat of Dianne Feinstein, who died in office, but has said she won’t seek election to a full term. Black women are seeking Senate seats in other states in 2024, including U.S. representatives Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware and Barbara Lee of California.
Alsobrooks has made her potential history-making victory a centerpiece of her campaign, alongside many traditional Democratic policy priorities. Now in her second four-year term leading Prince George’s, she was previously the county’s top prosecutor.
Moore, who is Maryland’s first Black governor and only the third Black candidate elected to govern any state, said Monday that he “know[s] a little something about what it means to make history.”
But he stressed he is supporting Alsobrooks for her background and platform. That included, he said, her pledge to make sure law enforcement has the resources it needs to address violent crime, and making sure “Maryland is going to get its fair share” in terms of federal resources.
Other supporters, however, specifically noted that it is time for a woman, and in particular a woman of color, to represent Maryland, one of the most diverse states in the country.
“It’s a problem for all of us,” State Comptroller Brooke Lierman said about the all-male federal delegation Maryland has had for nearly the past decade. “Because when we have representatives who share the lived experiences of people, different races, different backgrounds, different genders, different upbringings, it makes for better public policy for all of us.”
The solidifying of her support among the state’s Democratic establishment comes shortly after Trone reported spending nearly $10 million, mostly from his personal fortune, during the first three quarters of the year. Alsobrooks raised $3.3 million and spent $1.2 million during the same period and had $2.1 million left in the bank Sept. 30.
Trone’s campaign issued a statement Monday afternoon that did not specifically address Moore’s endorsement, while touting his own endorsements, promising others to come and saying voters are “most interested in where candidates stand on issues facing our communities.”
”Our campaign is honored to have the endorsements of 111 elected officials from across Maryland and the country who have seen David Trone’s ability to get things done for Maryland families first hand,” it said. “We’re rolling out more endorsements this week, and are thrilled and honored by the support we’ve received.”
There is no major candidate in the race from the Baltimore area, historically one of the Democratic strongholds of the state, and both Trone and Alsobrooks are competing for its voters. Trone has spent heavily on local television ads, and Alsobrooks has campaigned in Baltimore, including with her event Monday. Moore, who now lives in the governor’s mansion in Annapolis, previously lived in Baltimore. Julian Jones, the chair of the Baltimore County Council, and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball endorsed Alsobrooks at Monday’s event.
Other Democrats have filed to run in the Senate race, including Anne Arundel County business executive Juan Dominguez. Candidates have until Feb. 9 to get onto the ballot.
Republicans in the mix include former lawyer and perennial candidate Robin Ficker of Montgomery County and retired Air Force Brigadier General John Teichert of Crofton. Ficker spent about $208,000 on his candidacy already, according to campaign finance reports. Teichert, a newcomer in the race, has not yet needed to report campaign finance details. Former two-term GOP Gov. Larry Hogan has said he is not interested in pursuing the seat.
Green Party candidate Moshe Y. Landman has filed to run in the general election.