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Prince George’s County Executive Alsobrooks endorses Wes Moore for Maryland governor

Moore is one of 10 candidates vying for the Democratic nomination in the June primary

Prince George's County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) has endorsed Wes Moore for Maryland governor. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) on Saturday declared her support for Wes Moore in his bid to become Maryland’s next governor, giving him a coveted endorsement in the crowded Democratic primary.

Alsobrooks, who leads one of the most populous counties in the state, is the highest-profile elected official in Maryland to back Moore in his first bid for public office. She is also the second county executive to endorse the author and former nonprofit chief. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) announced his support for Moore six months ago.

Alsobrooks called Moore “the leader we need in this moment.”

“I have seen Wes Moore connect with people and bring them together to chart a vision for the future,” she said in a statement. “It is clear Wes Moore has the vision, integrity, and the ability to move our state forward and deliver for families in Prince George’s County and across Maryland.”

The announcement coincided with a rally in Upper Marlboro, where Moore and his running mate, Aruna Miller, opened a field office.

Moore drew early support from several elected officials from the Baltimore region, including longtime state Sen. Delores G. Kelley (D-Baltimore County) and Del. Stephanie M. Smith and Sen. Antonio L. Hayes (D-Baltimore City). He also has won the backing of several elected officials in the Washington region, including Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando (D-At Large), state Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Montgomery) and Susie Turnbull, former state Democratic Party chair and former candidate for lieutenant governor.

Alsobrooks, once considered a possible gubernatorial candidate herself, decided last May not to enter the race, and instead chose to run for reelection. Her support could provide significant help for Moore in voter-rich Prince George’s County.

“This movement we are building is about bringing together great leaders across the state and working with communities to make Maryland a place where we do not leave people behind,” Moore said in a statement. “I have long admired County Executive Angela Alsobrooks as a fierce fighter for Prince Georgians, and I am so honored for her support.”

Alsobrooks’s endorsement of Moore is expected to be a blow to other Democrats vying for the nomination, especially former Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III, who is making his second straight bid for governor. Baker served two terms leading the county before Alsobrooks took office.

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Baker won the backing of nine of the 11 members of the Prince George’s County Council last summer. But it is unclear how much momentum Baker’s campaign has. According to January fundraising reports, Baker took in about $128,000 from October to January, and listed $63,000 as cash on hand. Campaign officials said Baker raised the required in-state donations needed to qualify for seed money from public financing.

Moore collected about $4 million from April to January, the largest fundraising haul in the field. Among his rivals for the nomination, he was followed by State Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), former U.S. labor secretary Tom Perez and former U.S. education secretary John B. King Jr., who each reported a little more than half of Moore’s total. But Moore is also spending more, according to recent reports.

The other Democrats in the 10-way race are former Maryland attorney general Douglas F. Gansler, former Anne Arundel County executive Laura Neuman, former nonprofit executive Jon Baron, former Montgomery County Council candidate Ashwani Jain, and socialist activist Jerome Segal.

Democrats are seeking to reclaim the governor’s mansion from Republicans, who have won three of the past five gubernatorial elections even though Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by a 2-to-1 margin. Independents make up about 20 percent of Maryland’s electorate, and their numbers have been growing in recent years.

The Maryland primary is June 28.