Prince George’s Political Updates: Senate Race Heats Up with Fundraisers, Endorsements; Public Safety Updates

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New FEC Reports, Endorsements Forecast a Contested Senate Primary

Recent FEC reports, fundraisers and endorsements show that the 2024 Maryland primary to replace Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D) U.S. Senate seat, while far off, is already off to a hot start. Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) and Montgomery County Congressman David Trone (D) are viewed as the front-running candidates, and Montgomery County Council member At Large Will Jawando (D) is gaining strength as a progressive alternative. 

Both Alsobrooks and Jawando have August fundraisers planned in Martha’s Vineyard, and Western Maryland’s 6th Congressional District is featuring a contested primary to replace the outgoing Congressman that will undoubtedly raise turnout in Trone’s backyard.

The Trone campaign reported raising $9,833,793 and spending $4,742,231 between April and the end of June, ending the quarter with $5,262,901 in their campaign account. $9,725,000, over 98% of his total fundraising, came via a loan from Trone. Trone has said that he will spend up to $40,000,000 of his own money on the Senate race, necessitating strong fundraising and campaign organizing from his opponents. His campaign has already sent multiple mailers to registered Democrats in Prince George’s County and the Baltimore metropolitan area.

The Alsobrooks campaign reported raising $1,730,019 and spending $395,701, finishing the quarter with $1,334,318 on hand. 

Alsobrooks was recently endorsed by Comptroller Brooke Lierman (D), who she supported in the primary election.

“Working with Angela has shown me that she is an effective and focused leader with the right priorities,” Lierman said in a statement. “I know that in the Senate she will work to support our kids, our teachers, our seniors, our communities and our small businesses, because she’s already doing that work.”

Jawando’s campaign brought in $526,026, spent $211,781 and finished June with $314,244. One of Jawando’s donors includes the new Washington Commanders President Jason Wright, who donated $1,000. 

Jawando received endorsements in Laurel on July 26 from Colmar Manor Mayor Monica Casañas, Mount Rainier Mayor Celina Benitez and Laurel City Council members Martin Mitchell (D) and Carl Dewalt (R). 

Jawando’s recent role in the passing of rent stabilization in Montgomery County was mentioned by several of the endorsers, including Council member Dewalt.

“As a community activist, I know that the only option in this race is Will Jawando,” said Casañas.

Congressman Ivey Co-Sponsors Expungement Expansion 

U.S. Congressman Glenn Ivey (D-Md.) is one of the co-sponsors of the Kenneth P. Thompson Begin Again Act, a bill to expand access to expungement laws for non-violent, minor drug possession offenses. New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, one of the top-ranking Democrats in Congress, is also co-sponsoring the bipartisan bill.

“Re-introducing the ‘Kenneth P. Thompson Begin Again Act’ is an important step in restoring people’s ability to fully rejoin our community.  Giving a second chance to folks who have made a mistake in their lives gives us a more productive populace, restores dignity to those whose hopes have been dashed and gives them more opportunities to own a home, start a business or build a career,” said Ivey.  “Making amends for past mistakes and moving forward should be rewarded.  That’s what this bipartisan bill does.  That’s what over 22 national organizations support.  Let’s get this done.” 

The “Kenneth P. Thompson Begin Again Act” will broaden eligibility for expungement under 18 U.S.C. 3607, a law enacted under President Ronald Reagan, by removing the age cap and allowing judges to give people of any age with a minor possession offense a second chance to pursue a productive life.

“Ken Thompson was a groundbreaking District Attorney who prioritized integrity and fairness in the criminal justice system. He was a transformational figure in the fight for criminal justice reform nationally and a staunch defender of the safety and security of New Yorkers,” said Jeffries. 

Patrick Yoes, president of the National Fraternal Order of Police, explained how the law currently operates.

“Under current law, an individual can have a minor drug possession offense expunged from their criminal record if they have no prior convictions and meet other preconditions—one of which is that you must be 21 years old or younger,” Yoes said, before supporting the second chance legislation. 

“With all the other requirements that must be met to get this expungement, we don’t think it’s appropriate to limit someone’s opportunity for a second chance to be limited by age.” 

County Council Proposes Apartment Camera Bill

County Council Vice President Wala Blegay introduced a new bill on July 6 that would require security cameras in entrances and exits of apartments and senior buildings, an effort to improve both safety and accountability for tenants. 

In senior buildings, the bill would require at least one 12-hour security guard on duty every day of the week and require landlords to fix broken equipment within two weeks. 

Roughly 38% of the population, or about 373,000 people, are renters in Prince George’s County. 

“It is essential that our residents feel safe,” said Blegay. “During a visit to a Senior community in my District, a carjacking occurred in the parking lot and I was alarmed to later discover that security cameras  at this facility had not worked in two years. I was even more troubled when the representative from the Senior community reminded me that security cameras were not required in Prince George’s County.  I decided that this bill was necessary to not only allow residents to feel safe but also assist our law enforcement partners in solving crimes in our community.”

Council Members Krystal Oriadha (D, District 7) and Council Member Edward Burroughs III (D, District 8) are also sponsors of this bill. CB-66 was put on hold and will be considered again after the August recess.

In March, the County Council unanimously passed a bill to approve $200 vouchers that would help cover the cost of security cameras for homeowners, businesses and nonprofits.

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