Maryland Senate campaign sign vandalized with KKK lettering and crosshairs target

WASHINGTON — A campaign sign for Maryland Senate candidate Angela Alsobrooks was vandalized with hateful and threatening imagery this week, sparking a police investigation in a contest that is gaining more national attention as of late.

The advertisement located in a grassy median in Prince George’s County features Alsobrooks, and was marked with “KKK” lettering and a crosshairs target on her forehead.

"We were made aware of this very unsettling incident, and our paramount concern is Angela’s safety," said Gina Ford, Alsobrooks' campaign spokesperson, in a statement. "However, this sort of hateful threat will not deter Angela or her campaign. Police are investigating the matter."

Alsobrooks had also been targeted back in April, when her campaign office was burglarized.

The state Democratic Party said in a statement Tuesday that "Marylanders deserve better than this and Black Marylanders deserve better than this."“At a time when our country is so divided, and hate crimes against so many communities are on the rise, we must stand up and call out racist and hateful conduct for what it is.”

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson wrote in a tweet that "there is no place for hate in a democracy."

"It’s disheartening that, in 2024, a Black woman seeking to serve her community is subject to these disturbing threats," he wrote. "The future of our nation depends on our ability to embrace humanity. We must do better."

The markings are likely to raise antennae of voters and civil rights leaders given the historic nature of the contest, which could help determine who controls the Senate in 2025.

Alsobrooks, a Democrat, is looking to be the Old Line State’s first Black senator after a tense primary. She is running against Republican Larry Hogan, who previously served as the state’s governor. He slammed the vandals in an online statement.

“Hate, threats of violence, and racism must be condemned in the strongest possible terms,” Hogan said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “They have no place in Maryland."

Alsobrooks and Hogan are running to fill a seat being left open by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, who passed on seeking reelection this year.

Maryland hasn't had a Republican senator in more than four decades and political forecasters consider this race as a likely hold for Democrats at the moment. But GOP strategists believe Hogan, who is more moderate and a frequent Trump critic, is their best shot at making the reliable blue state competitive.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Maryland Senate candidate sign vandalized with KKK lettering