State Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (D-Montgomery) (Katherine Frey/The Washington Post)

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Richard S. Madaleno Jr. picked up an endorsement Friday from the NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC, an organization that defends women’s reproductive rights and their access to health care.

Mark Stover, chairman of the PAC, said the decision wasn’t an “easy” one, considering “all of the qualified candidates, but [Madaleno] has a track record and we thought it was the best way to go.”

Madaleno, a state senator from Montgomery County, sponsored legislation last year making Maryland the first state in the nation to agree to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for their services if Congress defunds the organization.

Madaleno is trying to gain traction in a crowded Democratic primary. He said the latest endorsement distinguishes him from his challengers, who all support NARAL Maryland’s agenda.

“I have a record of proven results when it comes to reproductive rights and women’s health, and I have never been afraid to be at the forefront of the battle to protect what Maryland has achieved,” Madaleno said in a statement.

Stover said about five of the candidates responded to the group’s questionnaire, which weighed in the endorsement process. The group plans to raise money for Madaleno’s campaign.

Madaleno is one of eight candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to face Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in November. The others are Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III; former NAACP president Ben Jealous; Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz; tech entrepreneur Alec Ross; lawyer and former University System of Maryland Board of Regents chairman James Shea; former Michelle Obama policy director Krishanti Vignarajah; and perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe.

The Maryland primary is June 26.