By William J. Ford: Edward Burroughs III, the former Prince George’s County school board member who won decisively earlier this month in a special primary election for the county council’s District 8 seat, will now face a challenger in Tuesday’s special general election.
Ebony Sunala Johnson, an Air Force veteran and Howard University School of Law graduate, will run as a write-in candidate.
According to the county Board of Elections, Johnson’s name won’t appear on the ballot because she missed a Jan. 4 deadline to present a petition with the required number of signatures. A snowstorm hit the D.C. region the day before.
The seat was vacated in November by Monique Anderson-Walker, who resigned to focus on the Maryland gubernatorial primary as the running mate of Comptroller Peter Franchot.
The district with 55,699 registered Democrats includes Fort Washington, Oxon Hill and the National Harbor.
Burroughs, 29, of Temple Hills, received nearly 5,100 votes against five other candidates. Second-place finisher Tony Knotts, a former County Council member and Maryland state delegate, garnered nearly 1,100 votes.
Burroughs, who served on the school board for more than 10 years, works as legislative affairs director in the office of State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy.
Johnson, a resident of Fort Washington and an unaffiliated candidate, acknowledged Burroughs’ standing as a county native and his longtime service on the school board.
“But this is a legislative position. I encourage voters to build the best team to win,” she said Friday while handing out campaign postcards to residents. “We are looking for someone to interpret the law and understand who knows how to read the laws. I do it exceptionally well and I would do it well for the county.”
Johnson said her main priorities for the district if elected include:
• Improving safety on roads and highways such as Route 210 (Indian Head Highway) and address lack of sidewalks in residential neighborhoods.
• Assessing public school spending (the county council approves a final budget that includes education).
• Addressing blight and empty storefronts with existing shopping centers to boost economic development.
Johnson, who’s been practicing law for 14 years, currently works as an associate general counsel for the D.C.-based Consumer Banking Association. She served as president of a homeowner’s association in Palmer Park.
But this represents Johnson’s first foray into politics.
“If you’re happy with how you’ve been represented so far, then prioritize that,” she said. “If you want someone who is highly competent and dedicated not for political aspirations, or personally gain, just to do a solid for the community, then you look for that.”
Although Burroughs easily won the Democratic nomination, he’s encouraging District 8 residents to vote again.
“If you have a ballot at home, please go vote for your Democratic nominee,” he said Friday.
Early voting continues until Sunday with drop-off boxes at four locations. In-person voting can be done at the Southern Regional Technology and Recreational Complex in Fort Washington from noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Ballots can also be mailed but must be postmarked by Tuesday.
Although unofficial voting results are slated to be posted online Tuesday night, the county’s elections office isn’t scheduled to certify results until Feb. 11.
Because Anderson-Walker’s term didn’t expire until December 2022, prospective candidates can run in the June 28 primary and then in the general election Nov. 8.