Jamie Raskin is endorsing Angela Alsobrooks in the high-stakes Maryland Senate race
Jamie Raskin is endorsing Angela Alsobrooks in the high-stakes Maryland Senate race

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) weighed in on the closely watched Maryland U.S. Senate race on Monday, endorsing Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) over Rep. David Trone (D-Maryland) in the May 14 primary — but also pledging to help keep the typically blue seat from Republican hands, regardless of winner.

“Who do we want in the US Senate to defend women’s suffrage?” I want Angela Alsobrooks,” Raskin said. “Who do we want to protect people’s right to vote? I want Angela Alsobrooks. This is not a time when anyone can afford to stand on the sidelines.”

Maryland hasn’t sent a Republican to the Senate since 1980, but with control of the chamber and a formidable Republican as the likely nominee, the race is higher-stakes this year.

In an interview, Raskin said he would work to help any Democrat who wins the primary and faces the likely GOP nominee, former Gov. Larry Hogan, in November.

“If Larry Hogan were to go to the Senate, he would be another brick in the wall for Donald Trump and his party,” Raskin said in a video announcing his endorsement.

Raskin, a constitutional lawyer, is the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee and was a popular liberal among rank-and-file Maryland Democrats even before he gained national prominence for his role in Trump’s second impeachment trial and the Jan. 6 hearings. His influential endorsement is a broad megaphone.

Raskin had considered running for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Med.). But after opting out in July, Raskin has largely remained silent on the race.

Asked why he didn’t get involved after Hogan filed at the last minute, Raskin said he was committed to working against Biden’s impeachment efforts in the House and decided it wasn’t necessary.

“I checked with a whole bunch of people, in and out of the office, to see if they thought I was the only person who could beat Larry Hogan,” Raskin said. “And everybody said any three of us could beat Hogan. … so I decided my role was to help the Democrats win. And that’s the role I hope to play in this race.”

Alsobrooks has already received support from much of the upper echelon of Maryland’s political elite. Still, she trails Trone in a wide-open primary race, with 39 percent of voters saying they were undecided in a recent University of Maryland Washington Post poll.

The same poll found Hogan with a double-digit lead among Democrats, even though voters said by a 22-point margin they wanted Democrats to retain control of the Senate.

The approval also comes days after Throne apologized for misusing a racial slur during a congressional budget hearing, but Raskin said neither the study’s findings nor the gaffe affected the timing of his approval.

“It became clear to me that we were going to have an uphill battle to keep our seat in the Senate,” Raskin said in the interview. “I think we will, but we need all hands.”

Raskin also said he chose Alsobrooks over Trone because, like Cardin, her “career really came out of local and state politics from the soil of Maryland.” Alsobrooks grew up in Maryland and was a state attorney before being tapped to lead Prince George’s, a majority black suburb of D.C.

Trone, a businessman who co-founded national liquor retailer Total Wine & More, ran against Raskin in the 2016 Democratic primary for the seat being vacated by now-U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Med) ( Raskin won; Tron worked in the neighboring district two years later.)

“The critical thing here is that we just want to stay very positive, on the high road, for the general election,” Raskin said. “I told both Alsobrooks and Throne that we need both of them to be as passionately engaged in the general election as they are in the primary, win or lose. And I’m as passionately committed to the Democratic nominee as I would be if my name were on the ballot.”

On Sunday, several additional members of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Alsobrooks: Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.); Gregory W. Meeks (DN.Y.); Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio); Yvette D. Clark (DN.Y.); and Jasmine Crockett (D-Tex.).

Troun, who had previously received support from several major unions and Top House Democratic leaders, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (DN.Y.), are expected to release a new list of their own endorsements Monday morning.

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