Former Prince George's County state delegate Aisha N. Braveboy on Thursday launched her campaign to become the suburb's next top prosecutor, setting off a head-to-head contest with another longtime elected official in the June 2018 Democratic primary.
Braveboy, who ran unsuccessfully for Maryland attorney general in 2014, declared her candidacy for state's attorney at a District Heights union hall.
She will compete for the nomination — which in Prince George's is tantamount to winning the general election — against state Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George's), 43, who announced his run in September.
Incumbent Angela Alsobrooks (D), who has served two terms as state's attorney, is running for county executive.
Braveboy, 43, is a native Prince Georgian who graduated from county public schools, attended the University of Maryland at College Park and obtained her law degree from Howard University School of Law.
She won her first political race in 2006, filling the House of Delegates seat vacated by Anthony G. Brown after he was tapped to serve as lieutenant governor.
During her time in Annapolis, Braveboy shepherded legislation to combat domestic violence, curb mass incarceration, and protect homeowners from lending practices that led to the foreclosure crisis and contributed to the collapse of the Prince George's housing market. She also chaired the Legislative Black Caucus.
In 2014, Braveboy — who was not well funded or well known outside Prince George's — jumped into a three-way Democratic primary for state attorney general, along with then-Del. Jon S. Cardin and then-state Sen. Brian E. Frosh, the eventual winner.
Although Braveboy won just 1 in 5 votes statewide, she was immensely popular in her home county, carrying Prince George's with 46 percent of the vote. After the 2014 elections, she said many Democrats stayed home and did not participate because they felt disconnected from the political process.
Braveboy's primary rival, Ramirez, is also an attorney who was raised in Prince George's County. He has served in the state legislature since 2003 and was the first Latino elected to the senate.
Ramirez, who was born in El Salvador, has spent his career advocating legislatively for immigrants, pushing for measures that provided driver's licenses to undocumented residents and extended in-state tuition to students who are in this country illegally.
He most recently helped lead a failed attempt to pass the Maryland Trust Act, which would codify limits to the state's cooperation with federal immigration authorities.