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Election 2024 Government & Politics

Top contenders for U.S. Senate appear together at Democratic Party function in Montgomery County

Devang Shah, on stage, gives remarks before hundreds on May 17 at a Maryland Democratic Party event celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month at New Fortune Restaurant in Gaithersburg. Photo by William J. Ford.

The top three Democrats who’ve announced their intentions to run for U.S. Senate appeared together at a Maryland Democratic Party event Wednesday.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D), Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D) and Rep. David Trone (D-6th) gave brief remarks before a packed crowd at the New Fortune Restaurant in Gaithersburg. The one-hour program celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, with featured guests including Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller (D), the first South Asian woman elected lieutenant governor in the United States, and the first Indian American lieutenant governor in Maryland history.

“It speaks a lot to the importance of the Asian community,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D). “In this room are people whose connections are a lot deeper than what we see here. It is important to talk to people within their communities.”

Elrich hasn’t decided which Democratic candidate he will support in next year’s primary to replace long-time public official Sen. Ben Cardin (D), who announced earlier this month that he wouldn’t seek reelection to the seat.

The emerging top candidates addressed the crowd how the AAPI community represents an important base in the Democratic Party, with focuses on education, entrepreneurship and eradicating hate.

“And most importantly, it is a community that believes in getting stuff done,” Trone said. “This is not about junior high school. This is about getting stuff accomplished and that’s what we can do in the U.S. Senate.”

Jawando, whose father came from Nigeria to the United States in 1970, talked about immigrants becoming successful in America.

But “there’s a big lie in America. The lie is that this room shouldn’t exist. … [That] when we help our immigrant neighbors, when we help those less fortunate, it lessens my life. That’s a lie,” he said, echoing his announcement video.

Alsobrooks said during her tenure as states attorney, violent crime in her jurisdiction decreased by 50% and the county broke ground on 10 new schools in the last three years.

“When I tell you what I intend to accomplish for people in the Senate, I’m not speaking aspirationally. I’m not speaking to you theoretically. I’m telling you what we’ve been able to accomplish already to this point,” she said. “There’s so much more we can do for our families.”

It remains unclear whether Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8th) will join the field seeking the Democratic nomination.

Raskin didn’t announce his plans Wednesday, but he told the packed room that his latest test showed he’s cancer free, after months of chemotherapy treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

During a brief interview, Raskin said he’ll make his intentions known next month.

“I’m just trying to figure out where I can be most effective in standing up for democratic values and democratic institutions,” he said. “That’s the fight we’re in and we’re still in the middle of it…”

Jerome Segal, a former college lecturer and longtime progressive activist who has run for several offices over the last five years, has said he will seek the Democratic nomination.

Anne Arundel County businessman Juan Dominguez is contemplating whether to enter the Democratic primary race.

Meanwhile, Democrat Steven Henry Seuferer, Republican Ray Bly, and Moshe Landman, of the Green Party, have filed for candidacy with the State Board of Elections.

Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis offered advice for fellow Democrats in choosing a Senate candidate.

“What I would encourage everybody to do is to get to know every single candidate. Don’t take anybody’s advice, especially mine,” she said. “Do your own research. Find out if they speak to your values. The worst thing you can do is to go to your neighbor and say, ‘Who should I vote for?’ That’s your responsibility, so you should take that responsibility seriously. I certainly do and I encourage everybody to do that.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to clarify a statement from Angela Alsobrooks.


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Top contenders for U.S. Senate appear together at Democratic Party function in Montgomery County