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4 Things To Know About The Heated Race For Prince George’s County Executive

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Outside spending by SuperPACs, fights over donations from real estate developers and contrasting visions for education and development have dominated the fight to become the highest elected official in Prince George’s County. Nearly seven out of 10 registered voters in the county are Democrats, so the winner of the June 26 Democratic primary should easily win the general election for county executive, which raises the stakes for Tuesday’s vote.

Here are four key things to know about the race:

(1) Contrasting Campaigns And Support

Nine candidates are on the ballot in the Democratic primary, but two have emerged as front-runners: Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks and former Congresswoman Donna Edwards. The two have captured most of the endorsements, labor support and campaign donations.

Both are African American women who are trailblazing public officials in their own right. Alsobrooks was the first woman ever elected state’s attorney in the county; Edwards was the first black woman elected to Congress from Maryland.

But as the race has unfolded, the two candidates have run very different campaigns, with contrasting styles and bases of support.

Alsobrooks is running on her record as the county’s top prosecutor, especially its efforts to combat violent crime and domestic violence. She’s earned the endorsement of the Washington Post and holds a major fund-raising advantage heading into the final days.

Edwards, who once represented parts of Prince George’s County in Congress, is known as an outspoken progressive who has experience at the national level.

“I feel really fortunate I haven’t spent my entire professional life inside of county government,” said Edwards, who added that she believes it will take a “real outsider view” to tackle long-standing problems facing the county — like its struggling public school system.

“We need somebody who’s going to make decisions that are not going to make everyone happy,” she said.

If Edwards is positioning herself as an outsider, Aslobrooks is playing up her local experience.

”I’m a local figure, a local servant.” Alsobrooks said. “The people here know me.”

“That’s the real difference between me and Donna,” she said. “She’s known as a person who’s more focused on national issues, but hasn’t been present here locally.”

The latest campaign finance reports underscore this dynamic in the race. Nearly two-thirds of Edwards’s donations came from outside Prince George’s, while Alsobrooks raised most of her money – 80 percent – from donors in the county.

(2) Controversy Over PAC Money And Developer Donations

The campaign has heated up in recent weeks, and the sharp rhetoric seems to be due to the activities of a SuperPAC funded mostly by outside money.

The “We Are Prince George’s” PAC has spent nearly $1 million on mailers, digital ads, canvassers and consultants since March. The group is funded by a pair of national labor groups and a local hotel union that support Edwards.

Read all at WAMU

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