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Angela Alsobrooks to Launch Bid for Senate Seat in Maryland This Week

Angela Alsobrooks, the executive of Prince George’s County and one of the most prominent Democrats in Maryland politics, will launch her campaign for the Senate this week, sources familiar with the matter tell TIME, joining an already crowded field vying to replace outgoing Sen. Ben Cardin.

Alsobrooks plans to announce her Senate bid in a video on Tuesday, sources say. She will follow that with a rally in her home county on Wednesday, flexing her ability to pull a crowd at the campaign’s early stages. She is also expected to draw the endorsements of several high-profile Maryland Democrats in the coming days and weeks, potentially positioning her as an early frontrunner for the coveted open seat.

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Since 2018, Alsobrooks has led the second largest county in Maryland but the one with the most Democratic voters. Maryland insiders suspect that will provide her a competitive advantage over her challengers. PG County proved decisive in the 2022 Democratic primaries, particularly in the race for governor, in which Wes Moore won the county by 16% over Tom Perez enabled him to win statewide by just 2%. (That may have been in part from getting a boost with an early endorsement from Alsobrooks.) At the same time, an Alsobrooks candidacy is likely to galvanize national interest. She’s a single mom and Black woman running at a time when there are no Black women in the Senate.

Three other Democrats have already jumped into the race: U.S. Rep. David Trone, Montgomery County Council Will Jawando, and the perennial socialist candidate Jerome Segal.

Read more: Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland to Announce Retirement

Trone, who announced his campaign last week with a news release and video, is likely to be Alsobrooks’ most formidable opponent unless Rep. Jamie Raskin decides to run. Raskin, who recently said that his cancer had entered remission after chemotherapy treatment following a lymphoma diagnosis last year, told TIME last week that he’s taking the month of May to make a decision.

Trone, on the other hand, has already assembled a campaign team and is preparing to pour a fortune into securing a Senate seat. A wealthy businessman who founded the Total Wine and More retail chain, he’s told associates that he plans to spend as much as $50 million of his own money on the campaign, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Trone has a history of self-funding his bids for elected office. It hasn’t always worked. In 2016, Raskin defeated Trone in a three-way Democratic primary to replace Chris Van Hollen when he vacated his House seat to run for Senate. Raskin raised and spent about $1 million on that contest compared to the roughly $17 million Trone injected from his own pocket. (Trone won a House seat in an adjacent Maryland district two years later.)

Alsobrooks, 52, has been expected to run for Cardin’s seat for months. Trone seemed to tacitly acknowledge that she or Raskin would be favored when he unveiled his bid last week. “I know I won’t be the establishment choice,” he says in his campaign video.

Yet Alsobrooks is likely to face headwinds on fundraising. Whereas Trone can finance himself and Raskin would have millions sitting in his federal campaign war chest, she will have to fundraise from scratch. Campaign finance laws forbid her from transferring money from her state account into a federal one.

Before her election as Prince George’s County Executive, Alsbrooks served two terms as state’s attorney, where she was known as a tough-on-crime prosecutor. During her tenure, crime dropped by 50% in the county, with homicides falling by 40%, rates that were consistent with national trends at the time. As a fellow Black female prosecutor, she befriended Vice President Kamala Harris when Harris was San Francisco’s district attorney. Alsobrooks supporters expect her record on crime to be a featured part of her campaign.

Her candidacy will also come at a time when Maryland Democrats are ardently trying to diversify their representation on Capitol Hill. There are currently no women serving in the state’s Congressional delegation.