Prince George's County was hit hard by the recession. It was ground zero for foreclosures, joblessness and, at one time, crime.
Now there are five candidates running to succeed County Executive Jack Johnson, who is returning to the private sector after eight years running the county.
They all cite their experience as the No. 1 reason they can do the job. Most have held elected office. Rushern Baker said because of his legislative experience on the Budget Committee, he "knows exactly where all the money is and how to get it back to Prince George's County."
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"I have innovative skills, where I've stepped out and created a domestic violence program 24/7 in the mid-Atlantic region of this country," said Prince George's County Sheriff Michael Jackson.
Henry Turner Jr. is the only candidate who has never held elected office. He stresses his military management and budget experience and feels that this year voters are turned off by politicians.
"Right now when I talk to people, the first thing they ask me, 'Mr. Turner are you an elected official?' And I say, 'No, I'm not.' And they say, 'Good, because we don't want any more elected officials because they've put us in the mess that we're in right now.'"
The candidates are using elaborate websites to spread their message on the Internet and use this new age campaign platform to tell voters why they are the best candidate for the job of Prince George's County executive. Samuel Dean has a video posted in which he says, "I'm the only candidate that has delivered. The others make promises."
State Delegate Gerron Levi has experience in Annapolis cutting the budget.
"About 40 percent of the state's operating goes to the local jurisdictions," he said. "Prince George's County is second on the list in terms of how much we bring back, so when they're cutting, it really has a big impact on us."
Baker, Jackson and Sam Dean have the name recognition, but at this point, each of the five candidates believes they can win.
No Republicans filed to run for county executive, so whoever wins the Democratic primary on Sept. 14 will likely run the county for the next four years.