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Election 2024 Government & Politics

Political notes: Alsobrooks heads to the Vineyard, Martinez’s quick support, plus personnel news

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) speaks during the inauguration of Comptroller Brooke Lierman (D) in Annapolis. Alsobrooks served as honorary co-chair of Lierman’s transition team before the swearing-in. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) is headed to Martha’s Vineyard next month for a fundraiser for her U.S. Senate campaign — and it has a long list of prominent sponsors.

It won’t be the first time Alsobrooks has headed to Massachusetts to shake the tin cup: Just last week she had an event in Boston co-hosted by a former U.S. senator and a former congressman.

Alsobrooks is competing for the Democratic nomination against U.S. Rep. David Trone (6th), who is largely self-funding his campaign, and Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando, among others.

In a recent memo to supporters, obtained by Maryland Matters, Alsobrooks’ campaign outlines several upcoming fundraising events both in Maryland and out of state.

The Martha’s Vineyard event is especially noteworthy.

It’s being co-hosted by Hasoni Pratts, who has become a fundraising angel for several well-known Black Democrats. In her day job, Pratts is a special adviser to the president of the National Urban League. But she is also a co-founder of a group called Higher Heights for America, which works to elect Black women, and is national treasurer and board member of its political action committee. The PAC is a co-sponsor of the Alsobrooks event.

In an interview last year with New York magazine, Pratts explained why she liked to host fundraisers for Black candidates at her vacation home in Oak Bluff.

“The reason why I open up my network is to help those who don’t have those connections or resources, but they really want to do good — they really want to be good public servants and their values are in the right place, but they just don’t have the network,” she said. “Running for office is hard, and a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to do any type of self-care. But when they come here, at least they get a few hours to do self-care, even if it’s just sitting by the pool or going to the beach. So that’s also part of the donation.”

According to the article, last year she hosted an event for U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), headlined by U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), who is now the top Democrat in the House. And she hosted another for Carl Heastie (D), the speaker of the New York state Assembly.

The Alsobrooks fundraiser on Aug. 15 has an impressive array of co-hosts, including:

  • Glynda Carr, the president and CEO of Higher Heights for America
  • Mo Cowan, who was an appointed member of the U.S. Senate for six months, representing Massachusetts after John Kerry became U.S. secretary of State
  • Mark Getachew, a mergers and acquisitions and private equity fund attorney in the New York office of the powerhouse law firm Willkie, Farr & Gallagher LLP, and his wife, DeNora Getachew, CEO of the nonprofit and vice chair of the Higher Heights PAC board
  • Gina Merritt, a Washington, D.C., real estate investor
  • Crystal Wagar, an attorney, former mayor of Miami Shores, Fla., and former general counsel for the Black Economic Development Corp., and her husband, Kirk Wagar, a former Obama administration ambassador to Singapore and head of his own international financial firm
  • Bennie Wiley, former president and CEO of The Partnership Inc., a Boston organization that helps businesses and other entities attract and retain leaders of color
  • Robert Youngentob, executive chair of EYA LLC, the D.C.-area development firm, and his wife, Linda Youngentob, a Montgomery College faculty member, philanthropist and education advocate. (The Youngentobs are also hosting a fundraiser for Alsobrooks in Bethesda this fall.)

Alsobrooks isn’t the first Maryland candidate to raise money on Martha’s Vineyard. Last year, now-Gov. Wes Moore (D) appeared at a fundraiser there hosted by filmmaker Spike Lee.

Alsobrooks has already raised money out of town and is continuing to do so.

On July 18, Cowan, who is now chief legal and external affairs officer with Devoted Health, a health care company focused on senior citizens, co-hosted an event for Alsobrooks in Boston along with former U.S. Rep. Chet Atkins (D-Mass.) and Winston Henderson, vice president and general counsel of Clear Scientific Inc., a tech firm — and, like Alsobrooks, a graduate of Duke University.

On Aug. 23, Alsobrooks is scheduled to travel to Denver for a fundraising lunch hosted by Electing Women Denver, a group dedicated to electing women as governors and U.S. senators. If elected, Alsobrooks would be just the third Black woman to serve in the Senate in U.S. history, though other Black women are also running for Senate in 2024.

On Sept. 21, Alsobrooks has a fundraiser planned for Washington, D.C., hosted by Jay Klug, a real estate investor who is managing partner of the firm Granite State Partners, and also a Duke alumnus.

On Monday evening, she was raising money in D.C. at an event hosted by Langston Emerson, a partner at Mindset, a bipartisan lobbying firm.

According to the campaign memo, fundraising events for Alsobrooks are also being planned in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Raleigh, N.C. and Austin, Texas. And she’s not neglecting the home front: She has several fundraisers scheduled for Maryland in the upcoming weeks, including her popular annual family picnic, at the Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville, in late September.

On Tuesday night, Alsobrooks was raising money in Columbia, at an event co-hosted by former Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D), who now runs a development company, Howard County Councilmember Opel Jones (D), Del. Jessica Feldmark (D-Howard), Greg Fitchitt, president of The Howard Hughes Corporation, and several others.

Alsobrooks’ campaign raised a robust $1.7 million from the time she entered the race in mid-May until June 30, according to her first campaign finance report.

Out of the gate quickly

The campaign of Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez, who entered the Democratic primary for the 6th District congressional seat earlier this month, reported this week that she has racked up more than 600 donations since joining the race.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Martinez said in a Facebook message. “I’m so humbled and heartened to see so many people involved in our movement. Our campaign isn’t sponsored by special interests; it’s powered by everyday working folks.”

Her campaign manager, Brett Guessford, did not say how much money the campaign pulled in during that time.

Martinez is one of several Democrats seeking to replace Trone as he runs for Senate — and the field is likely to grow. Half a dozen Republicans are also in the race.

A new leader for Baltimore Corps

Baltimore Corps, the social justice and innovation organization that was launched almost a decade ago by now-Gov. Wes Moore (D) and Fagan Harris, currently his State House chief of staff, announced Tuesday that Caryn York will be the organization’s next president and CEO.

Caryn York, incoming president and CEO of Baltimore Corps. Baltimore Corps photo.

York, a Baltimore native, comes to the group from the Women’s Prison Association in New York, where she was president and CEO. She is best known in Maryland as the former CEO of the Job Opportunities Task Force, where she helped advocate for several key pieces of legislation expanding workers’ rights and educational opportunities across the state.

“Caryn is a warrior for justice who wakes up every day with purpose,” Moore said in a statement. Harris, who ran Baltimore Corps until taking the top job in Moore’s administration, called York “the right person to continue this critical work and ensure the sustainability of what is becoming a national success story.”

York said the Baltimore Corps gig was an offer she couldn’t refuse.

“I couldn’t resist the opportunity to be back here working with the people who have created a model for building, expanding and amplifying the impact of talent pipelines.”

Since Harris left the organization to work in the State House, Baltimore Corps has been led on an interim basis by Sarah Flammang. She is about to take a job with the Moore administration as deputy secretary at the new Maryland Department of Service and Civic Innovation.


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Political notes: Alsobrooks heads to the Vineyard, Martinez’s quick support, plus personnel news