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Political notes: Trone stumps in Prince George’s, 6th District news, candidates for House vacancies, and more


Political notes: Trone stumps in Prince George’s, 6th District news, candidates for House vacancies, and more

Jun 07, 2023 | 4:53 pm ET
By William J. Ford
Political notes: Trone stumps in Prince George’s, 6th District news, candidates for House vacancies, and more
Rep. David Trone (D-6th), right, chats with former state Sen. Victor Ramirez on June 6 at Riviera Tapas Bar. Prince George's County Councilmember Edward Burroughs is in the rear. Photo by William J. Ford.

In his continued push for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, Rep. David Trone (D-6th) sought to encourage a growing demographic bloc in the state to back him. And he did it on the home turf of one of his leading opponents.

Trone served as guest speaker Tuesday evening at a meeting of the Latino Democrats of Prince George’s County at the Riviera Tapas Bar in Riverdale.

Trone summarized his platform, highlighting his support for women’s rights, improving mental health and providing jobs for returning citizens. He noted that his company, the national liquor store chain Total Wine & Wore has hired about 1,400 people who previously had been incarcerated.

But Trone’s voiced boomed a little louder inside the restaurant when he touched on immigration.

“Immigrants have built this country,” Trone said as he received an applause from the dozens in attendance. “The diversity in this country…is our strength.”

Although the Democratic primary isn’t until next year, Trone is trying to seize an opportunity to garner Latino votes in Prince George’s County, the state’s biggest majority-Black jurisdiction. Latino leaders have felt diversity has been lacking in local leadership since County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D), also a Senate candidate, began her term in office.

Former state Del. Carlo Sanchez (D) serves on the county’s Police Accountability Board, though he was appointed to the position by the County Council, and Alison Flores is deputy director in the county’s Office of Community Relations. But the county’s major governmental body, the County Council, has no Latinos.

“Representation matters and I understand the frustration from the Latino community,” said Prince George’s Councilmember Edward Burroughs III (D), who attended the event and supports Trone. “We need to support someone who is willing to support diversity to bring all people in.”

County data shows the Latino population has increased to nearly 24%, a more than 9% increase from the 2010 Census.

“I do believe [Alsobrooks] will have an uphill climb in this community,” said state Del. Deni Taveras (D-Prince George’s), who attended the event but has not made an endorsement in the Senate primary.

In the meantime, Alsobrooks already received more than three dozen endorsements from current and former elected officials, most recently from U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5th) and Comptroller Brooke Lierman (D).

The other top Democrat in the Senate race is Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando.

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8th) plans to announce by July 4 whether he’ll join the race to replace U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who is retiring.

Jerome Segal, a former college lecturer who has run for several offices, is also seeking the Democratic nomination.

Anne Arundel County businessman Juan Dominguez may enter the Democratic primary race. And a poll has been asking voters in recent days about the possibility of John Angelos, the attorney and co-owner of the Baltimore Orioles, running.

The Prince George’s Latino organization, chaired by former state Sen. Victor Ramirez, hasn’t endorsed any candidates, but welcomes them to speak before the group.

“We’re open to anyone who wants to come,” he said. “We’re hoping that other Senate candidates come and share their vision and their ideas.”

6th District news: Sayles studies, Mason’s mission

Add Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles (D) to the list of potential candidates pondering a run for the 6th District congressional seat, which Trone is giving up to run for Senate.

Sayles told Maryland Matters on Wednesday that she has been encouraged to consider seeking the seat, and has begun deliberating and talking to key advisers and supporters. Sayles was elected to an at-large seat on the county council last year and previously served on the Gaithersburg City Council.

Sayles said that over the next several weeks, she will consider whether she can raise adequate funds for a congressional race, the political history of the district, which takes in parts of Montgomery County and most of Western Maryland, and the possibility of adding diversity to the mix of candidates considering the Democratic primary.

“I know that it’s a challenging race,” she said. “I know that the landscape is different from Montgomery County. But I’ve never not run in a tough race.”

Sayles said that ultimately, her decision will come down to “ensuring that my congressional district has the best possible representative.”

Meanwhile, another Democrat did formally enter the 6th District contest this week. Mia Mason, a military veteran who was the 2020 Democratic nominee for Congress in Maryland’s 1st District and briefly tried again during the 2022 cycle before exiting the race, is running for the 6th District seat this time.

Mason announced her candidacy this week, noting the possibility in campaign materials that she could be the first trans woman to serve Congress.

Political notes: Trone stumps in Prince George’s, 6th District news, candidates for House vacancies, and more
Mia Mason, Democratic candidate for Congress in the 6th District. Photo courtesy of the Mason campaign.

“My story is like so many of those that made me decide to run for public office,” Mason wrote in a fundraising appeal. “So many people in so many communities feel left behind, unseen, and unheard. “I’m committed to the visibility of the LGBTQIA community and to the advancement of rights for all of us. We deserve a voice in Congress that offers us the opportunity to be seen and heard exactly as we are. I know that we all have much more in common than the radical right would have us believe, and when we work together, we can ensure that our needs are met, and our representatives are doing the job they were sent to Washington to do. But it’s not enough to say you will get the job done — it starts with action.”

Mason saw five tours of combat duty during two decades in the military and later worked to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine in Maryland. She took 36.4% of the vote against U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the lone Republican in the state’s congressional delegation, in 2020.

Mason told Maryland Matters on Wednesday that she bought a home in Frederick, in the 6th District, in 2021, after previously living on the Eastern Shore. A handful of Democrats have already entered the race to replace Trone, and several more are expected to follow. Republicans will also try to compete for the 6th District seat, far and away the most competitive in Maryland.

The scorecard to tell the players

With key decisions coming soon to fill vacancies in the House of Delegates in Montgomery County’s District 17 and Baltimore City’s District 41, here’s a list of all the applicants in both places.

There will be an online public forum for the District 17 candidates on Wednesday evening, with the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee scheduled to nominate a replacement for former Del. Kumar P. Barve (D) next Tuesday evening. The District 41 candidates, who are vying to replace former Del. Tony Bridges (D), will appear before the city’s Democratic central committee on Thursday evening, and the representatives from District 41 are expected to nominate a candidate that same evening.

Bridges left the legislature to become an assistant secretary at the Maryland Department of Transportation. Barve resigned to take a seat on the Maryland Public Service Commission.

The applicants in District 17 are:

  • David Fallick, a Humanities professor at Montgomery College
  • Josh Fischer, who works for the Montgomery County Child Welfare Services division and serves on the Montgomery County Renters Alliance board
  • Julian Haffner, attorney, former member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, former chief of staff to Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery)
  • Susan Hoffmann, former Rockville mayor
  • Jennifer Guzman Hosey, member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, political and policy aide
  • Tiffany Kelly, community activist and consultant
  • Matthew Lee, tech executive, member of the Montgomery County Economic Development Board of Directors and former member of the central committee
  • Johvet Lopez, organizer for the Montgomery County Education Association
  • Kevin Redken, attorney and member of the Montgomery County Commission on Juvenile Justice
  • Rebecca Smondrowski, member of the Montgomery County Board of Education
  • Ryan Spiegel, attorney, Gaithersburg City Councilmember and former president of the Maryland Municipal League
  • Sabria Still, youth and human rights advocate, former aide to Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D)
  • Keith Vance, software engineer
  • Karl Van Neste, software executive, vice president of the Muddy Branch Alliance

The applicants in District 41 are:

  • Marvin Briscoe, community activist
  • Angela Gibson, former state delegate, worked for the Baltimore City mayor’s office for 30 years
  • Tracie Guy-Tucker, social justice advocate and consultant
  • Roya Hanna, attorney, ran an aborted campaign for Baltimore City state’s attorney in 2022
  • Kevin Harris, biographical information not immediately available
  • Lisa Hodges, biographical information not immediately available
  • Thomas Phillips, biographical information not immediately available
  • David Rodwin, lead attorney with the Workplace Justice Project
  • Malcolm Ruff, attorney with Murphy, Falcon & Murphy

Public financing comes to Anne Arundel

Anne Arundel County is about to become the sixth jurisdiction in the state to adopt some form of public financing for local elections. The County Council voted along party lines Monday night, 4-3, for a bill by Councilmember Pete Smith (D), on behalf of County Executive Steuart Pittman (D), to create the public financing system in time for the 2026 elections.

The Anne Arundel program will require that participating candidates only accept contributions of $250 or less. Those donations will then receive matching funds, with the smallest contributions matched at the highest rate.

Similar programs have been established in Baltimore County, Baltimore City, Howard County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County, though they haven’t been fully implemented everywhere. Maryland has had a public financing system for gubernatorial candidates since the 1970s that was modernized and fully funded in 2021. It’s utilized some election cycles more than others.

“In our democracy, the depth of your pockets should not dictate the volume of your voice,” said Maryland PIRG director, Emily Scarr. “Anne Arundel County just struck a major blow to the role of big money in elections and is building on Maryland’s national leadership on campaign finance reform.”

The story has been updated to show that Carlo Sanchez was appointed to the Prince George’s County Police Accountability Board by the County Council.