June 1, 2014

IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY’S primary races on June 24, some of the county’s longest- established lawmakers in its all-Democratic delegation in Annapolis face challenges from a new generation of politicians. Successful candidates will need to be aggressive in enlisting the state’s help for Prince George’s, especially in juicing economic development around Metro stations and elsewhere. The following candidates, identified in bold type, are The Post’s choices in contested Democratic primaries in Prince George’s. (There are no contested Republican primaries.)

(Identify your legislative district and current representatives by entering your address at ­mdelect.net. See a list of all candidates and your sample ballot for the June 24 primary by entering your name, date of birth and Zip code at wapo.st/mdprimary.)

DISTRICT 22: In the contest for the House of Delegates, the three incumbents face the insurgent candidacy of Rushern L. Baker IV, son of the county executive. Twenty-six years old and fresh out of graduate school, Mr. Baker is a promising candidate with a refreshing focus on promoting the arts. However, he hasn’t made the case for displacing any of the three far more experienced current delegates, Tawanna P. Gaines, Anne Healey and Alonzo T. Washington — the last a rising star who was appointed in 2012 to serve out the term of former Del. Justin Ross, who resigned.

DISTRICT 23: In the contest for state Senate, the challenger is David Grogan, a community activist and former U.S. marshal whose long federal service is not enough to overcome the absence of a compelling campaign message. We support two-term incumbent Douglas J.J. Peters, whose foothold on the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee and effectiveness in working with colleagues earned him the chairmanship of the county’s delegation in Annapolis.

DISTRICT 23B: Marvin E. Holmes Jr. is a strong incumbent with expertise in environmental matters. The district’s other incumbent, Joseph Vallario Jr., is an old-time Annapolis player with a deservedly checkered reputation. Voters should have booted Mr. Vallario from the House long ago. In his stead, they should send Ron Watson , an education expert who will press for new ways to fund county schools.

DISTRICT 24: The Senate race pits against each other two well-qualified candidates who have earned our endorsement in previous races: Bobby G. Henry Jr., a smart former Army lawyer and ordained minister, and the incumbent, Joanne C. Benson. We prefer Ms. Benson. Both candidates rightly emphasize economic development and health care; yet unlike Mr. Henry, Ms. Benson, with 20 years as a delegate prior to her election to the Senate in 2010, is experienced and well-connected.

In the House race, two capable incumbents, Carolyn J.B. Howard and Michael L. Vaughn , are up for reelection. But the competition for the district’s third slot is among the hottest in Prince George’s County. Tiffany Alston, running again this year, used to represent the district until her 2012 conviction for theft and misconduct in office. Her appointed replacement, Darren M. Swain, has been embroiled in a scandal of his own involving an incident last year in which he allegedly used drugs with a group of teenagers and sexually solicited one of them , charges he has denied. Among their numerous challengers — notably including businessman Greg Hall, an appealing candidate who has overcome a troubled childhood — we support Erek Barron , a lawyer with a long history of public service. Mr. Barron would bring experience, savvy and a laudable focus on criminal justice matters to the legislature.

D ISTRICT 25: In the Senate race, scandal-marred incumbent Ulysses Currie faces a strong challenge from Melony Ghee Griffith , who has served in the House for almost 16 years and deserves promotion to the Senate. Mr. Currie’s Senate colleagues stripped him of his committee chairmanship and barred him from other positions in 2012 after he allegedly took money from Shoppers Food Warehouse, then lobbied state agencies on the supermarket’s behalf. As a lawmaker in the House, Ms. Griffith was effective in helping channel funds to the county schools. She’s a better bet.

In the House contest, two open seats — caused by the decisions of Aisha Braveboy and Ms. Griffith to seek higher office — have attracted a crowded field of aspirants. The easiest call is the lone incumbent, Dereck E. Davis , the respected chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee, who’s seeking a sixth term. He’s been a leader on statewide concerns like insurance affordability while attending to local needs, including an overhaul in governance of the county schools. For the other two seats, we support Angela Angel , a lawyer whose work as a child abuse investigator gives her keen insights into the needs of families, and Nick Charles , a strong community advocate with a focus on street-level issues.

DISTRICT 26: In the Senate race, incumbent C. Anthony Muse has had some success in his two terms, notably in pushing financial literacy and getting relief for strapped seniors. But he has taken stands that fly in the face of his own constituents’ interests, such as opposing marriage equality and in-state college tuition rates for undocumented Maryland high school graduates. His opposition to the needed restructuring of county school governance further undermines his claim for reelection. The most promising of his three opponents is attorney Brian Patrick Woolfolk , whose experience as a congressional staffer gives him a working understanding of how to effect change through legislation.

In the House race, incumbent Veronica Turner is vacating her seat to run for the Senate. A capable successor would be David Sloan , a former aide to Gov. Martin O’Malley and former head of the state Democratic Party. He offers a focus on public safety, economic development and education. He would bring a jolt of energy to the delegation rounded out by incumbents Kris Valderrama and Jay Walker .

DISTRICT 47: In the Senate race, the incumbent, Victor Ramirez , faces scant opposition from Walter Lee James Jr., the mayor of Bladensburg, who has not mounted a serious campaign. Mr. Ramirez was chief sponsor of the state’s Dream Act, which extends in-state tuition subsidies to Maryland high school graduates who were brought into the country by their undocumented parents.

DISTRICT 47A: Mr. Ramirez’s two running mates in the House contest, Diana M. Fennell and Michael Summers, a first-term incumbent, are exceptionally weak. Ms. Fennell is utterly unversed on policy; Mr. Summers achieved nothing of note in four years in Annapolis.

Two much better options are on the ballot, both with a real command of statewide and local issues. One is Malcolm Augustine , an intelligent, energetic marketing entrepreneur who could make a mark for the district and the county. The other is Jimmy Tarlau, a veteran labor organizer and negotiator who has thoughtful and creative ideas about paying for the economic development this inside-the-Beltway district badly needs.

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