A handful of pro-Palestinian protesters shouting “Ceasefire now” briefly disrupted a campaign event for U.S. Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks in Columbia on Saturday.
The lead protester was carried out of the room before she and allies who followed her out could hear Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s County executive, who said she supported a ceasefire in the Gaza war, more aid to the Palestinians, and a two-state solution.
“We have to release the hostages and cease fire,” Alsobrooks said, with some of the audience applauding. “We need a ceasefire. And we need the United States and every other nation across the world doing everything we can, to stop and prevent the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians. And we ought to be doing everything we can to stop the humanitarian crisis that has developed in Gaza,” a remark, that promoted more applause from the crowd of over 150 people.
“The question for all of us is what happens on the day after the conflict is over,” Alsobrooks continued. “My priority is to develop peace and safety and security for both the Palestinians and Israelis, in this two-state solution. And what that means is we have to find a partner who believes in a two-state solution. [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu has said he does not believe in it. And so we need another partner. We need a partner who believes in peace and prosperity, the two-state solution. I’ll be working for that, for a world where we have peace and security in the Middle East.”
Little drama, lots of money
The protest added a bit of drama to a Democratic primary Senate race that has had little drama. The campaign had been visible mainly through the free-spending by Alsobrooks opponent, U.S. Rep. David Trone, who has spent $23 million, mostly of his own money, in TV ads, multiple mailers to Democratic voters, and social media postings.
Alsobrooks has raised more than $5 million but has yet to respond to Trone’s media blitz with her campaign ads.
Instead, Alsobrooks has relied on the support of over a hundred elected Democrats, including the governor and half of Trone’s colleagues in the Maryland congressional delegation.
“It’s not going to be easy when you’re up against the big money,” retiring Rep. John Sarbanes told the crowd. “You’re an underdog against David, against Goliath, which means everybody here has to go to work to make this happen.”
Saturday’s luncheon event was organized by Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and brought out over 150 people to the Owen Brown Interfaith Center.
Even though she’s been running for the Senate since May, Alsobrooks is still introducing herself to voters, as she did Saturday in Columbia. After graduating from Duke University and the University of Maryland law school, she clerked for Howard County Circuit Court Judge Donna Hill Staton, became a domestic violence prosecutor, and eventually was elected the state’s attorney in Prince George’s County before being elected the executive there for two terms.
She and her supporters also emphasize that as a 53-year-old Black mother, Alsobrooks would bring a different set of life experiences to a Maryland congressional delegation that is all male and a U.S. Senate of mostly white males with an average age of 64 and an average net worth of $16 million.
Trone, 69, is the multimillionaire founder of the national liquor chain Total Wine and More
Del. Vanessa Atterbeary, a Howard County Democrat who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, made a similar point in a short speech Saturday.
“Representation matters,” Atterbeary said. “It matters 100%. And so I am here for my daughter, for all of the other daughters, to look up and see someone that looks like them in the United States Senate.”
The pro-Palestine protesters Saturday also were objecting to the decision by the Howard County Council not to take testimony on a resolution to be voted Monday night calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.