Senate races

Ben Jealous endorses Edwards for Maryland Senate seat

Former NAACP president Ben Jealous endorsed Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) in the race for the open Maryland Senate seat. 

The endorsement on Friday was a boost for Edwards after she was snubbed in February by the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, which voted not to endorse her in her quest for the Democratic nomination against Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). 

{mosads}Jealous, who once considered running for the seat of retiring Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), cited Edwards’s commitment to criminal justice reform and working families. 

“Since coming to Congress, Donna has been leading the fight for good jobs, investments in our urban communities, and a criminal justice system that is fair and equitable,” Jealous said in a statement. “In the Senate, she will be a voice for Maryland’s working families, and a champion for civil rights and social justice.” 

Jealous, who chaired the civil rights organization from 2008 to 2013, has also endorsed Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders for president. 

Van Hollen also released a series of endorsements on Friday from civil rights leaders in the state, including Linda Plummer, president of the Montgomery County NAACP chapter, and June White Dillard, former president of the Price George’s County NAACP chapter.

Edwards is in a heated primary battle with Van Hollen, who is seen as the establishment favorite and was endorsed early last year by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). 

The congresswoman has received endorsements from progressive groups like Democracy for America and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and late last year EMILY’s List, which backs Edwards, released a TV ad highlighting her progressive record. 

Van Hollen has significantly outpaced Edwards in fundraising. According to fundraising reports, he ended last year with about $3.6 million cash on hand, compared to Edwards, who was just shy of $300,000 in the bank. 

Yet, several recent polls show the race is a dead heat and a survey from The Baltimore Sun and the University of Baltimore found Edwards leading Van Hollen by 6 points. The primary is on April 26. 

The seat is seen as safe for Democrats, though several Republicans have also entered the race, including Maryland State Delegate Kathy Szeliga; Chrys Kefalas, a former aide to Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr.; former Pentagon official Richard Douglas and businessman Joe Hooe.

Tags Barbara Mikulski Bernie Sanders Harry Reid

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