**FILE** Maryland Comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Peter Franchot (left) and Prince George’s County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker, Franchot's running mate for lieutenant governor, take part in a meet-and-greet event in Oxon Hill on Oct. 30. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

Since former Prince George’s County Council member Monique Anderson-Walker vacated the District 8 seat last month, seven people officially declared their candidacies to succeed her.

As of the 9 p.m. deadline Tuesday, Dec. 7, the county’s Board of Elections show Edward Burroughs III, Sidney Gibson, Ebony Sunala Johnson, Tony Knotts, Jerry Mathis, Marjorie Smith and Vernon Wade will seek the seat.

Six of the candidates are all Democrats. Sunala Johnson represents the only person who’s an unaffiliated candidate.

Because Anderson-Walker, who left to become the running mate of gubernatorial hopeful and state Comptroller Franchot, resigned before her term expired in December 2022, a special primary election will take place on Jan. 4. It will be followed by a special general election on Feb. 1.

The area known as “South County” includes Fort Washington, Marlow Heights, Oxon Hill and National Harbor.

Smith and Sunala Johnson filed their paperwork Tuesday.

Gibson, who serves as president on the board of trustees for Prince George’s Community College, couldn’t be reached for comment Friday because he attended a funeral out of town.

Burroughs paperwork got registered Monday, Dec. 6. The 29-year-old resident from Camp Springs served on the county school board for more than a decade while a high school student at Crossland. As of Tuesday, his picture isn’t on the school district website.

Mathis represents the first person to file paperwork, according to the election’s office.

Mathis, 68, of Fort Washington, has managed his own real estate firm for 27 years. He’s served on various county commissions including under the late former County Executive Wayne K. Curry.

“I wasn’t planning on running for anything. I’ve been trying to educate Black folks in this county,” Mathis, who ran for county executive as a Republican in 2018, said in an interview last week. “I know I am running against the establishment of Tony Knotts. With this seat open, I must make one last try. We can do much better in this county.”

Knotts, 70, of Oxon Hill, represents the most prominent candidate after serving on the council from 2002 to 2010 and later as a state delegate from 2015 to 2019.

“A fresh perspective is always good, but it has to be meaningful,” he said in an interview. “A new voice needs a learning curve. Do we have time to teach? The rest of the county is moving forward. You have to hit the ground running. You have to put forth leadership in the county. I learned the different nooks and crannies. I can protect and serve.”

Wade, 57, has owned Wade Enterprises since 2006 and serves as president and CEO of Culture Z Urban Stability. According to the website, it offers research and support to the public and private sector in data analysis, cloud services and other services to improve the environment in “Black and brown communities.”

The Fort Washington resident has served on various local committees, including as chair of the county’s Chamber of Commerce green technology and energy committee.

“The district needs new leadership. We need innovative thoughts in the community,” Wade, who also attends the University of the District of Columbia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, said in an interview Friday, Dec. 3. “In my studies, I learn so much about how to build a healthy, safe vibrant community. It takes work. It takes creating policy. I have been on county politics from a civics perspective. I have the heart to serve.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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