Democrat Will Jawando exits Maryland’s US Senate race to replace Ben Cardin

Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando is dropping out of the race for the Democratic nomination in next year’s election to succeed longtime U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland.

Jawando, a civil rights attorney and author who previously worked in the administration of former President Barack Obama, fell behind other Democratic candidates in soliciting both money and endorsements for his campaign of nearly six months.


“The fights we talked about in this campaign are and always will be the fights of my life. But after thinking long and hard about this race in particular, I frankly no longer see a path for myself to victory,” Jawando said in a statement Friday morning.

The councilman’s exit leaves U.S. Rep. David Trone and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks as top contenders in the May 14 primary. Anne Arundel County businessman Juan Dominguez is among those who have filed to run.


Jawando did not say whether he would endorse another candidate, and his campaign did not respond to a question about whether he would do so.

Though candidates have until Feb. 9 to get on the ballot, Alsobrooks has racked up the support of many in the state’s Democratic Party establishment and Trone has tapped his immense personal wealth to spend nearly $10 million already.

Jawando had $322,333 in his campaign war chest after raising $750,257 and spending $429,190 as of Sept. 30, according to recent campaign finance reports. Those figures indicated a steep climb ahead. Trone, the co-founder of Total Wine & More, has not hesitated to aggressively fund his campaign. Alsobrooks also posted strong fundraising numbers, with $2.1 million in the bank on Sept. 30 after $3.3 million raised since early May.

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Alsobrooks, who would be the first Black woman from Maryland elected to the U.S. Senate, has also received a slew of endorsements, including her would-be colleague U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume of Baltimore and state Senate President Bill Ferguson of Baltimore.

Montgomery County Councilman Will Jawando testifies on behalf of a bill at the General Assembly in Annapolis.

Jawando’s list of endorsements featured mostly county, city and town officials from around Maryland. His donors included actors Bob Odenkirk of “Better Call Saul” and Bradley Whitford of “West Wing” and “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Washington Commanders President Jason Wright and Boston University professor and noted author Ibram Kendi.

Before winning his first council seat in Maryland’s most populous county in 2018, Jawando came up short in the 2016 primary for the 8th Congressional District, now represented by Democrat Jamie Raskin. In 2022, Jawando published a memoir, “My Seven Black Fathers,” about his experiences with systemic racism and the lessons he learned.

His statement Friday indicated he would remain active in state and federal political debates, in addition to his role in Montgomery County.

“This is not the end — it is only the beginning,” Jawando wrote, highlighting his platform of pushing for a federal law requiring a $17 minimum wage across the U.S., universal basic income, a national program that would guarantee health insurance for every American (sometimes called “Medicare for All”) and criminal justice system reforms.


Democrats are widely expected to have an edge in next year’s general election, as no Republican has won a U.S. Senate race in Maryland since 1980.

Republicans who have said they will run include former lawyer and perennial candidate Robin Ficker, who has spent about $105,000, and John Teichert, a retired Air Force brigadier general. Teichert started his campaign earlier this month and hasn’t been required yet to file a campaign finance report.

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