Maryland Del. Veronica L. Turner on Monday plans to announce a bid to unseat Sen. C. Anthony Muse, a fellow Democrat, in a Prince George’s County district that is in line to become home to the state’s sixth casino.
“So many people in the district believe we need someone who’ll listen to them and someone they can count on,” Turner said in an interview Sunday about her plans in District 26, where she said she expects to have significant union support in the June 2014 primary. She enters the race with the backing of the AFL-CIO.
Muse, a minister who has served in the Senate since 2007, said that Turner has a right to run but that he remains confident he’ll be elected to another term.
“I’ll take my case to the people, and we’ll let them decide,” Muse said, adding that he was proud of his record and that he has “always kept people informed.”
Another Democrat, lawyer Brian Woolfolk, is also planning to run. He said the district “desperately yearns for change” and needs stronger representation than either Muse or Turner can provide.
District 26 is home to all three sites vying for a casino license in Prince George’s, and Turner said her record sets her apart on the issue from Muse. Turner voted to put a gambling expansion plan to voters last year, while Muse opposed the measure, saying he felt the process had been rushed to give MGM Resorts an unfair advantage in its effort to build a casino at National Harbor.
Following passage on the ballot last fall, two other companies have since put in bids for facilities at Rosecroft Raceway and another site in Fort Washington. A state commission is expected to name a winner by the end of the year.
Given voters spoke on gambling last year, Muse said it shouldn’t be much of an issue in the upcoming race. He added that he has held several recent community forums to hear from constituents on the impact of the casino and to keep them informed.
Turner has served in the House of Delegates since 2003 and has been active in the labor movement. She said she also plans to press transportation, education and jobs as issues as she runs for Senate.
Muse unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate last year. Muse had been considering a challenge next year to Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) but said Sunday night that he is committed to running for reelection. Muse previously served in the House of Delegates from 1995 to 1999.
Among the issues on which Muse and Turner have parted ways in recent years is same-sex marriage. Muse opposed the legalization of gay nuptials in Maryland while Turner supported it.
“I’m here to represent all people,” she said Sunday.