Voters in Prince George’s County on June 26 will choose among nine Democrats vying to replace Rushern L. Baker III as county executive. The leaders in the heated Democratic primary — which in deep-blue Prince George’s is tantamount to winning the election — are State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks, former congresswoman Donna F. Edwards and state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, who have the most name recognition, fundraising dollars and endorsements.
All three were profiled by The Washington Post in recent weeks. The others on the ballot include a public-prayer advocate, a retired federal government worker, a former lieutenant governor and a former Obama administration appointee. Read more about them:
● Samuel W. Bogley III , known in Maryland for his turbulent term as lieutenant governor nearly 40 years ago under Gov. Harry Hughes (D), has not attended forums and has no campaign website or social media sites. In response to a request for an interview, Bogley, who is in his 70s, emailed a document laying out his “BASIS FOR CANDIDACY.”
“Not since 1748, has Prince George’s County, which had up to that time served as Maryland’s border to the State of Pennsylvania line, suffered so much from deliberate governmental actions,” Bogley wrote. He added that the county should increase its tax base and decrease its classroom sizes.
Bogley, who filed his paperwork to run for county executive hours before the deadline, was a staunch antiabortion advocate who clashed on the topic with Hughes, who supported abortion rights, even before the unlikely pair took office in 1979.
Once in Annapolis, he was quickly sidelined — largely relegated to ceremonial duties and sometimes left with whole days blank on his office calendar. Bogley, who served on the Prince George’s County Council before Hughes selected him as his gubernatorial running mate, described his current occupation as “professional neutral.”
● Billy Bridges, 56, of Cheltenham wants to “bring back prayer opportunities” in Prince George’s public schools. It’s the first pillar of his seven-part plan for the county and the first thing he mentions at forums, where he is a regular presence.
“School starts with such a fast pace, and our students don’t have time to reflect,” said Bridges, who served for eight years in the Air Force and works in the Prince George’s school system’s information technology department.
Bridges has not previously run for public office. He said he thinks the county needs “a revival.” When deciding whether to run, he said, he remembered that his former commander used to tell him that if you see a problem but do not do anything, “then you are part of the problem.”
Bridges grew up in Mississippi and moved to Prince George’s in 1994. He studied social science and political science at Mississippi Valley State University and received several master’s degrees at an online university based in Phoenix.
● Lewis Johnson, 66, is retired from a three-decade career in the U.S. Government Publishing Office, formerly known as the U.S. Government Printing Office. Johnson said he is running for county executive because he has “clean hands and a clean heart.” He said he has been to only a few forums because he thinks the crowds “get real loud and disrespectful.” He said the audience was “very rude” at one forum during which he declared that “our society is in the condition its in because families have broken down.” He said he decided to stop going to forums after that and to pass out his fliers himself.
Johnson, of District Heights, grew up in West Virginia and moved to Prince George’s in 1969. He did not attend college. He said he became interested in politics while with the publishing office, when he often spent time on Capitol Hill.
“I need to stand up for what I believe in,” Johnson said.
● Michael Kennedy did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
● Paul Monteiro , 37, directed AmeriCorps VISTA, the domestic Peace Corps, under President Barack
Obama. He may not have much name recognition countywide, but the native Prince Georgian earns loud applause and laughs at candidate forums with his stories of attending public schools in the county and jokes about his age.
“Who’s that young guy?” asked one attendee wearing a shirt bearing Muse’s name. “I like him.”
Monteiro raised $27,810 from January to May 15 — less than Alsobrooks, Edwards and Muse but substantially more than the other candidates on the ballot. He grew up in Hyattsville and was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He earned degrees from the University of Maryland and the Howard University School of Law.
On the campaign trail, Monteiro, who is the chief of staff to the president of Howard University, talks about providing teachers with more resources, focusing on reentry programs for ex-offenders and increasing the county’s commercial tax base.
He said he is hopeful that the divided Democratic field can provide a “pathway to victory” June 26. If he does not win, he said, he plans to find another way to “leverage the experience I have to help the community I grew up in.”
“I’ve been given these unique experiences, and I want to leverage them,” he said.
● Tommie Thompson, 60, is running for county executive because he thinks Prince George’s “has become a county of have and have-nots, with the Beltway being the dividing line,” he said.
“We owe it to all the residents to build on the successes of the past, but do it in a way that includes our older communities,” he said.
Thompson, a native Prince Georgian who lives in Mitchellville, graduated from Strayer University with a degree in accounting and is president of an accounting firm. He was the director of housing and community development under then-County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D).
Thompson has not been elected to public office before. He said that should not dissuade voters, because the county has “had some very good career politicians who have not been able to get the job done.”
“We need to offer the voters an alternative, a compassionate leader,” said Thompson, who wants to focus on improving education, building an economy that benefits all residents, including small and minority-owned businesses, and caring for seniors and children.
Correction: A photo caption with this report initially identified candidate Jerry Mathis as a Democrat. He is a Republican.