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Brakkton Booker

Will Jawando becomes the first candidate to jump into the race for Maryland’s open Senate seat

If elected, Will Jawando would be the first person of color to represent Maryland in the Senate | Kevin Wolf/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation
UPDATED: 02 MAY 2023 10:13 AM EST

The race to replace longtime Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin is underway, just a day after the dean of the Maryland congressional delegation announced he would not seek a fourth term.

Montgomery County Council Member Will Jawando becomes the first candidate to officially jump in the race, in what is expected to be a crowded Democratic primary. The council member released a video Tuesday morning touching on the election denial of former President Donald Trump and promising to bring a shared prosperity to all Marylanders.

"I have a bold, progressive vision. But I do it with my arms wide open. There is no solution that we can't come to together," Jawando told WUSA9, a local Washington, D.C., affiliate, which first reported Jawando’s candidacy.

Jawando, who has served on the Montgomery County Council the last four years, previously worked in the Obama administration in the White House Office of Public Engagement and later as an adviser to then-Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

He has hired Michaela Kurinsky-Malos as campaign manager. She previously served as deputy campaign manager for New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s short-lived gubernatorial campaign in Oregon, before leading the unsuccessful House run of Democrat Kermit Jones for California's 3rd Congressional District.

He enters the Democratic primary as a long shot, with other prominent figures likely to put themselves forth for this safe Democratic seat.

Several Democrats in the state tell POLITICO potential candidates also thought to be considering a Senate run to replace Cardin include Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks as well as U.S. Reps. David Trone and Jamie Raskin, all of whom are Democrats.

All would be formidable if they should jump in the race.

Alsobrooks would likely have the backing of EMILY’s List and represents a wealthy, majority-Black county. She also has close ties to current Gov. Wes Moore. She’ll likely make the case to be the first woman to represent Maryland in the Senate since the retirement of Sen. Barbara Mikulski in 2016.

Trone, a multimillionaire business owner of the Total Wine & More alcohol retailer, has the ability to self-fund a campaign. Dan Morrocco, who ran Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s reelection campaign, is set to run his campaign when it becomes official.

Then there’s Raskin, who has a strong national profile as a former Trump impeachment manager and served on the bipartisan Jan. 6 committee. The congressman would have deep ties to the national party infrastructure thanks to his four terms in congress.

Jawando is leaning into liberal bonafides to set himself apart from other potential rivals.

He is biracial; his mother is white from Kansas and his father is Nigerian. If elected, he would be the first person of color to represent Maryland in the Senate. He is married and has four children.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this report misspelled Arne Duncan and Nicholas Kristof's names.

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