Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks holds a 10-point lead over former U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards in the Democratic primary for Prince George’s County executive, according to a recent poll conducted for Alsobrooks and obtained by Maryland Matters.The poll also showed that while both candidates are viewed favorably by voters, Alsobrooks’ job approval ratings are astronomical.Meanwhile, less than a week before the latest campaign finance statements are to be released, it appears as if Edwards is relying on a new independent entity to help fund some of the basics of her campaign. The new entity, called We Are Prince George’s, is funded substantially by two unions that are backing Edwards.The poll on the county executive race of 400 likely Democratic primary voters, taken March 20-22, showed Alsobrooks with 40 percent, Edwards at 30 percent, state Sen. C. Anthony Muse with 13 percent, and former Obama administration official Paul Montiero at 4 percent, with another 13 percent undecided.Angela D. AlsobrooksThe survey, conducted by the firm Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group, had a 5-point margin of error.Beyond the horse race numbers, the pollsters write that Alsobrooks “enjoys a superlative image among Prince George’s County Democrats, with almost unheard-of ratings on the personal and professional level.”Sixty-eight percent of the survey respondents said they had “positive feelings” for Alsobrooks, compared to just 1 percent who reported “negative feelings.” Eighty-five percent said they approve of the job Alsobrooks has been doing as the county’s top prosecutor for the past 7 ½ years, compared to 5 percent who disapproved.Edwards, who made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate in 2016, had a 67 percent positive to 6 percent negative rating, while Muse, who is the pastor of a Prince George’s mega-church in addition to his legislative duties, had a 40 percent positive to 9 percent negative rating. The poll also found that 74 percent of Edwards’ supporters approve of the job Alsobrooks is doing as state’s attorney.“Given her standing with the primary electorate, it is not surprising that Angela Alsobrooks holds a double-digit advantage over her nearest competitor in the trial heat,” the pollsters wrote.They also suggested that Alsobrooks has more committed supporters than her two nearest rivals: 84 percent of those who indicated they are supporting her said they were backing her strongly, compared to 74 percent for Edwards and 61 percent for Muse.“Angela Alsobrooks approaches the last stage of the Democratic primary election in solid position,” Garin-Hart-Yang wrote. “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.”Alsobrooks is also likely to continue to show a significant financial advantage over her opponents when the next round of campaign finance statements are due to the Maryland State Board of Elections on Tuesday. In mid-January, she had just shy of $1 million in her campaign account, compared to $86,000 for Muse and $82,000 for Edwards.But the new super PAC, We Are Prince George’s, is attempting to fill the gap on Edwards’ behalf. The super PAC was seeded in recent weeks with $410,000 — $200,000 from UNITE Here, which represents hotel, gaming and food service workers, and $200,000 from the Mid-Atlantic Laborers International Union of North America, plus $10,000 from Patricia Bauman, a philanthropist and funder of progressive causes and candidates who has backed Edwards’ campaigns in the past.Because independent entities in Maryland need to report their spending activity in real time, in contrast to candidate campaign committees, which report only periodically, it is easy to discover that We Are Prince George’s has spent heavily thus far on field operations, campaign literature, polling and consulting fees, among other campaign staples. The super PAC had $59,000 on-hand as of Tuesday.Edwards on Wednesday won the endorsement of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club.“Donna Edwards earns our endorsement because of her long record of community involvement in addressing local environmental and quality-of-life issues,” said Martha Ainsworth, chairwoman of the Prince George’s Sierra Club group. “Land use and transportation decisions have profound impacts on congestion, the quality of our air and water, access to parks and recreation, greenhouse gas emissions and, ultimately, climate change. We trust Donna to stand against bad land use proposals because she has done it before and she refuses to accept funding from developer and real estate interests.”Earlier in the week, Alsobrooks was endorsed by U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D) – Edwards’ successor in Congress, whom Edwards endorsed early when he was running for governor in 2014.Alsobrooks held a fundraiser with 1,000 women supporters on Wednesday at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt. [email protected]
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.