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Political Notes: A candidate exits 3rd District race, updates in the U.S. Senate campaign

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Political Notes: A candidate exits 3rd District race, updates in the U.S. Senate campaign

Dec 09, 2023 | 6:20 am ET
By Bryan P. Sears
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Political Notes: A candidate exits 3rd District race, updates in the U.S. Senate campaign
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The U.S. Capitol. USGS photo by Toni Smith.

An early entry into Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District race has announced she will withdraw and focus on issues before the General Assembly.

Maryland House Ways and Means Chair Vanessa Atterbeary (D-Howard) announced her intention last month to run to succeed Rep. John Sarbanes (D), who is not seeking a 10th term.

“I have decided not to pursue the race for the Maryland 3rd Congressional District in 2024,” Atterbeary said in a text message to a reporter.

Atterbeary along with Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) jumped into the race within a week of Sarbanes’ surprise announcement. The congressional district stretches from Anne Arundel to Howard County and includes a small portion of Carroll County.

Her decision to exit the campaign leaves five lawmakers state lawmakers including Elfreth, Sen. Clarence Lam (D-Howard and Anne Arundel) Dels. Mark S. Chang (D-Anne Arundel), Terri L. Hill (D-Howard) and Mike Rogers (D-Anne Arundel) in the Democratic Primary. None has to sacrifice their seat to run for Congress in this presidential election year. Two other Democrats, Lindsay Donahue, a medical IT specialist, and Kristin Lyman Nabors, a clinical research nurse, are also in the primary contest.

Atterbeary, who has been chair of the Ways and Means Committee since 2021, said she has decided to focus on issues in the General Assembly.

“I have held this position for two sessions; and, have accomplished a great deal,” she wrote. “What I have come to realize over the past several weeks is that there is much more work for me to do in this capacity.”

“Fighting for those who don’t have a voice has been the center of my work in Annapolis since I was first elected in 2014,” she wrote in a text.  “I have been fortunate to pass legislation that actually effectuates real change.”

Atterbeary’s committee will be central in a number of issues in the coming 90-day session including a structural budget deficit and education issues as well as the possibility of a debate on taxes.

“Our strongest leaders are needed right here at home,” she wrote.

“There is uncertainty around the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. As a result, my commitment to the thousands of children that rely on Maryland’s Public School System must continue. Also, given the court’s recent actions to make guns more accessible, I cannot back down from the years I have worked towards the passage of gunsense legislation. The right of all Maryland families and children to feel safe is paramount to me. I need to ensure that these responsibilities are unassailable before I start my next political chapter – which I look forward to in the coming years.”

U.S. Senate updates

Two U.S. Senate candidates proclaimed support for their campaigns this week from a long-time state lawmaker, the son of a civil rights icon and former official who worked with former Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

Rep. David Trone (D-6th) announced an endorsement Friday from former Del. Shane Pendergrass (D-Howard). Pendergrass served as chair for six years of the House Health and Government Operations Committee until her term ended last year.

“Throughout my career, it’s been my mission to protect women’s rights and stand up for abortion and healthcare access. I’ve seen the work that David Trone has done to help make progress on this issue, unequivocally supporting abortion rights, opening a Women’s Health Center in Western Maryland, and fighting to codify Roe v Wade at the federal level,” Pendergrass said in a statement. “His track record speaks for itself, and that’s why I trust him to be our next U.S. Senator.”

On Thursday, Trone released his 11th campaign ad entitled “Visions.”

The 30-second ad features Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-Illinois), the son of civil rights leader the Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Jonathan Jackson said Trone has worked to create low-term mortgages for first-time homebuyers and support grants for minority businesses.

“David knows there’s no justice without economic justice,” Jackson said. “We may be losing a congressman who’s made a difference. We’re gaining a Senator who will make all the difference.”

Trone was criticized Wednesday from supporters of his Democratic opponent, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.

Five state and local lawmakers released a statement that called some of Trone’s comments “dismissive” and “condescending” when talking about career politicians not having a lived experience to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The comments were made during a Democrat candidate’s forum Sunday that also included Anne Arundel businessman Juan Dominguez.

Also on Wednesday, the Trone campaign announced endorsements by the International Association of Ironworkers Local 5 and 568 and the Sheet Metal Air Rail & Transportation Local Union 100.

On Thursday, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) and former Maryland Commerce Secretary Mike Gill endorsed John Teichert, a retired brigadier general in the Air Force who’s seeking the Republican nomination.

“General John Teichert embodies the principles of strong leadership, integrity, and dedication that our great nation deserves,” Rutherford said in a statement. “His unwavering commitment to service, combined with a proven track record of effective leadership, uniquely qualifies him to represent the people of Maryland in the U.S. Senate.”

“As I saw first-hand when he commanded Joint Base Andrews, his leadership embodies passion, principle, inspiration, resilience and dedication, qualities our state deserves in the U.S. Senate,” Gill said in a statement. “With confidence, I endorse General Teichert, knowing his strategic vision will forge a promising path for Maryland’s future.”

The primary election to replace longtime Sen. Ben Cardin (D) is May 14.