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Election 2024 Government & Politics

Political notes: Moore and Alsobrooks, together again; endorsements and elbows in CD-6, GOP dinner guests, personnel news

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks endorsed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore at an event in Upper Marlboro in March 2022. Moore campaign photo.

Supporters of Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate have wondered when Gov. Wes Moore (D), who offered a high-profile early endorsement, would return to the campaign trail with her. It’s fair to say that supporters of Alsobrooks’ chief Democratic primary rival, U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) — not to mention neutral observers — have also wondered about the governor’s participation in her campaign.

Alsobrooks, after all, provided an exquisitely-timed endorsement of Moore during the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary that some people suggest may have put him over the top. So it seemed reasonable that after endorsing her last October, Moore would become a big presence in her campaign.

It hasn’t happened for a while, what with Moore’s ability to raise money limited by the three-month General Assembly session, and his attention largely focused on the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. But that’s about to change.

It’s worth noting that back when Moore endorsed Alsobrooks, she was perceived as the frontrunner in the Senate primary, and several powerful elected officials quickly moved to endorse her. Recent polls have shown Trone ahead — an advantage built in part by the more than $41 million of his own money that he’s spent on the campaign.

Trone has closed the gap somewhat when it comes to the number of endorsements from elected officials in Maryland, though Alsobrooks is still substantially ahead on that front.

Now Moore is scheduled to headline a star-studded fundraiser for Alsobrooks in Baltimore on the evening of April 30, according to an invitation obtained by Maryland Matters.

The other scheduled speakers are U.S. Reps. Kweisi Mfume (D-7th), Jamie Raskin (D-8th) and John Sarbanes (D-3rd) and state Comptroller Brooke Lierman (D). The fundraiser also has a sizable list of hosts, including Baltimore-area business executives, political leaders, attorneys, medical professionals and philanthropists. Moore’s campaign chair, Craig Thompson, who is now chair of the Maryland Stadium Authority, is among the hosts.

Alsobrooks campaign strategists and supporters have hinted at more joint appearances before the May 14 primary and it seems likely that Moore will appear in a campaign ad as well.

“The governor will be absolutely supportive of Angela, as he has been,” said Connor Lounsbury, who is a spokesperson for Moore’s political operation and an adviser to the Alsobrooks campaign.

Disclosure: The David and June Trone Family Foundation was a financial supporter of Maryland Matters in 2017 and 2018.

The establishment coming out for Delaney

In the view of many political professionals, former Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (D) could have waltzed into the 6th District congressional seat this year if she had run for it. Instead, she chose to remain on the sidelines.

Gardner last month made her preference known in the crowded and increasingly contentious Democratic primary to replace U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th), who is running for Senate this year. On Monday, she did it again in Gaithersburg, in the company of U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-5th), the former House majority leader, and Del. Lily Qi (D-Montgomery), who also contemplated running for the 6th District seat.

All three are backing April McClain Delaney, an attorney and former U.S. Commerce Department official who is the wife of the district’s former congressman, John Delaney.

“I know April Delaney to be a principled, commonsense leader who will faithfully serve the people of Maryland’s 6th District in Congress,” Hoyer said during a gathering at History Park. “April’s experience working alongside President Biden to advance equity and strengthen America’s digital communications will be an asset to our federal delegation.”

Cementing Delaney’s status as the establishment favorite, U.S. Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-2nd) offered his endorsement later in the day.

“April McClain Delaney embodies the qualities we need in a leader: dedication, compassion, and a tireless commitment to the well-being of our community,” Ruppersberger said in a statement.

Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery), who has emerged as Delaney’s strongest Democratic primary opponent, picked up endorsements Monday from five out-of-state members of Congress — one veteran and four newer members. The list was headed by 15-term Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), and included more junior Reps. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.), Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-N.M.), Eric Sorensen (D-Ill.) and Andrea Salinas (D-Oregon).

The members described Vogel as a fresh face, notable for his status as a candidate who is Latino, an immigrant and openly gay, with strong union support.

“These members of Congress all know what it means to deliver for working families,” Vogel said in a statement. “These are trusted leaders, both in their communities and in Washington.”

The dueling endorsements come amid signs that the campaign between Delaney and Vogel is getting nastier, with mailers from the candidates and their supporting groups attacking each other, and harsh rhetoric emanating from both sides. And as first reported by the Montgomery Perspective blog on Monday, the Vogel campaign has set up a website directly attacking Delaney, highlighting her supposed ties to high-profile conservatives.

“Joe Vogel is insisting on running a negative campaign,” a Delaney spokesperson told Montgomery Perspective. “We’re going to continue to fight MAGA Republicans and protect choice.”

Guess who’s coming to dinner

The Maryland Republican Party announced Sunday that U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) will headline the GOP’s annual “Red, White and Blue” dinner on June 19 in Annapolis. She’s the fourth-ranking member of Senate GOP leadership and one of the most influential Republican women on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa). Photo from Sen. Ernst’s X page, via the Iowa Capital-Dispatch.

But that’s not the only dinner the state GOP is holding over the next few weeks to feature an influential Republican woman. It’s also throwing a party in Towson on May 6 in honor of Ellen Sauerbrey, the two-time Republican nominee for governor who was also state House minority leader, who in many ways invented the pugnacious, modern-day Maryland GOP.

Sauerbrey, who also served in a few different foreign policy roles during the administration of former President George W. Bush, is now 86 years old. She will be feted by former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) and his wife Kendel Ehrlich, U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-1st) and his wife, state Republican Chair Nicole Beus Harris, and Nicolee Ambrose, the Republican National Committeewoman for Maryland.

A new gig for Candace Dodson-Reed

Candace Dodson-Reed, a seasoned and well known strategist and policy maven in Maryland, has a new job. She’s joining the Baltimore-based Green & Healthy Homes Initiative as chief of staff and executive vice president, reporting to the president and CEO, Ruth Ann Norton.

“We are excited to have Candace join our GHHI team and to bring her extensive knowledge and expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion, government relations, policy and systems change to our work,” Norton said. “She brings a unique set of cross-sector skills across government, health, environmental justice, and equity that will support the scaling of GHHI’s public and private sector work in Maryland and across the nation.”

The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative works to address the social determinants of health, opportunity, and racial equity by ensuring that people have access to a healthy, safe, climate-resilient home.

Most recently, DodsonReed was the vice president of Government Relations and Community Affairs at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Before holding that position, she was chief of staff at UMBC and was also the executive director of the university’s Office of Equity and Inclusion for two years.

She has also worked for the Greater Baltimore Committee and Howard County government, among other places. And she’s associated with countless organizations and causes in the state.

“I am thrilled to join the GHHI team, and this opportunity allows me to marry my professional experiences with work that I hold close to my heart,” DodsonReed said. “I am eager to work with such a dedicated team to help improve unjust policies for children, seniors, and families to ensure better health, economic, and social outcomes in historically disinvested communities.”


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Political notes: Moore and Alsobrooks, together again; endorsements and elbows in CD-6, GOP dinner guests, personnel news