After months of rumors and speculation that Donna Edwards would run for Prince George's County executive, the former Maryland congresswoman officially announced her candidacy Thursday.
Edwards will compete against Maryland State Attorney Angela Alsobrooks, State Sen. Anthony Muse and former Obama administration appointee and University of Maryland alumnus Paul Monteiro for the Democratic nomination to fill County Executive Rushern Baker's seat.
Baker plans to run for governor at the end of his term.
"We have the fundamentals," Edwards said in a YouTube video she posted this afternoon. "We need to create education, jobs and innovation to take on the challenges of the 21st century."
In 2008, Edwards won the seat of 15-year incumbent Albert Wynn and served Maryland's 4th congressional district for eight years until she ran for the U.S. Senate in 2016, losing to Chris Van Hollen in the Democratic primary. Edwards was the first black woman to represent Maryland in Congress.
"I believe that I have a history of both service and work that is exactly the breadth of experience and work that a county executive needs," Edwards said.
Edwards said improving the quality of education and health care services, as well as growing the local economy, are major challenges the county faces.
Josh Kurtz, editor at Maryland Matters, a news outlet that focuses on state government and politics, called Edwards "the most progressive candidate on most of the issues," which he said could be significant in a crowded Democratic primary.
"The biggest criticism you heard about her during the time she was in Congress was that she didn't have great constituent services," Kurtz said. "And that could come into play in a county executive race especially, which is all about constituent services."
Progressive groups such as Emily's List and Democracy for America supported Edwards in the Senate primary despite such criticism, and other grassroots activists have been pushing her to run for county executive, The Washington Post reported.
The Democratic primary will be held June 26.