Ten people seek to lead the majority-Black jurisdiction of Prince George’s County that houses four historical Black colleges and universities, the state’s largest employment gain at 3.5 percent from June 2016-2017 and three major construction projects near Metro stations that total nearly $2 billion.
The person elected this year to replace outgoing County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, who’s running for governor and term-limited, must also help heal a public schools system under constant scrutiny with an alleged pay raise scandal, a hidden camera inside an administrative office and some teacher frustration.
Nine candidates seek the Democratic nomination, and with that party outnumbering Republicans by a ratio of 10-to-1 in the county, the June 26 primary election winner more than likely would succeed in the general election.
The Democrats are State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, former Rep. Donna Edwards, state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, former Obama administration official Paul Monteiro, former Lt. Gov. Samuel Bogley III, Lewis S. Johnson, Billy Bridges, Michael E. Kennedy and Tommie Thompson.
Jerry Mathis registered as the only Republican.
“If you want any of these candidates to win, [then] you have to get out and vote,” said Bob Ross, president of the county’s NAACP branch.
Although endorsements candidates receive don’t guarantee a victory, but the number of supporters behind them can help.
A few dozen members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, Metro’s biggest union, expressed its support for Alsobrooks outside New Carrollton Metro station Friday, April 27. About 7,000 of the 13,000 members reside in Prince George’s.
Earlier that week on April 23, the county’s teachers’ union announced its support for Edwards. The organization represents more than 9,000 educators, guidance counselors and other nonsupervisory employees.
One day later at Prince George’s Community College, both candidates showcased some passion before a packed room at Prince George’s Community College in Largo.
Alsobrooks criticized Edwards after she challenged those who accept money from developers and high-ranking special interest groups.
According to an April 12 campaign finance report, a super PAC, or political action committee, called “We Are Prince George’s” received about $400,000 from two unions — Unite Here Local 25 of Northwest and LiUNA! (Laborers’ International Union of North America) of Reston, Virginia — to support Edwards. Patricia Bauman, a philanthropist from the District, contributed $10,000 and has supported Edwards in previous elections.
“What I find is they are your local grocer and commercial workers,” Edwards said of her donor base. “People who work at Giant and Safeway. They are laborers who work on your roads and fix your buildings. They are workers in our community. They are not developers who have given me a half-million dollars.”
Meanwhile, a memo obtained by The Informer shows Alsobrooks with a double-digit lead in the race.
According to the April 9 memo from the D.C.-based Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, it conducted a poll that shows in a trial heat with Alsobrooks at 40 percent, Edwards with 30 percent, Muse at 13 percent, Monteiro at 4 percent and 13 percent undecided.
The firm states Alsobrooks leads by similar double-digit margins among Black and White voters in the county.
“Angela Alsobrooks enjoys a superlative image among Prince George’s County Democrats, with almost unheard-of ratings on the personal and professional level,” according to the research firm.
The two-page memo highlights 84 percent “support their candidate strongly,” compared to 74 percent for Edwards and 61 percent for Muse.
About 74 percent of Edwards’ supporters approve of Alsobrooks’ performance as state’s attorney, according to the document.
The firm conducted a telephone survey March 20-22 with 400 likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of plus/minus 5 percentage points.
“Angela Alsobrooks approaches the last stage of the Democratic primary election in solid position,” the letter states. “She has a ten-point lead, she has more firmly committed support and the undecided is fairly low — meaning there is little persuadable vote remaining for Edwards or Muse to overtake Angela.”