Sept. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Primary Puts CBC in a Bind

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Rep. Donna Edwards called Maryland’s redistricting map “deeply flawed,” rubbing some politicians the wrong way.

Edwards and her spokesman declined to comment for this story, and she has been all but silent since Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) introduced the new map that he went on to sign into law over her objections.

Even as an incumbent, Edwards is something of an outsider within Maryland political circles. She is a favorite among liberal groups such as the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. She also has a small national following among the activists known as the net roots, which first got to know her when she ousted Wynn, a more conservative Democrat who had backed the Iraq War.

Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas told Roll Call in an email the net roots would "absolutely do everything we can to help her retain her seat."

"More than any politician the Daily Kos community has helped elect to Congress, Rep. Donna Edwards has kept her integrity and remained one of the strongest and most passionate progressive voices in the House," Moulitsas said. "Hers would be too important a voice to lose."

With praise from labor activists and the women's group EMILY's List, Edwards seems as if she will have a coalition behind her.

"We take this possible challenge very seriously because we take all of our elected women and their re-election very seriously," EMILY's List spokeswoman Jen Bluestein said. "But we are confident that, given the profile Donna has in her community, given how well she has served her community, and given what an excellent campaigner she has been in the past that, she will be re-elected and go on to continue to serve."

Christopher Honey, the district's local Service Employees International Union spokesman, told Roll Call the group views her as a "strong supporter."

But Edwards has rubbed some state politicians the wrong way with her outspoken style. Her vocal opposition to the new Congressional lines only added to that sentiment.

Edwards was one of the highest-profile critics of the proposed map, calling it "deeply flawed" because suburban Montgomery County had a large minority population and would likely have three white Members representing it come 2013. She even drew up her own alternate version.

She currently represents the eastern side of the county and would be losing those constituents and picking up voters from Anne Arundel County.

"The word 'unhappy' does not adequately reflect what's happening here," Edwards said about the map at the time.

Benoit told Roll Call it seemed to him Edwards didn't want to represent his county. He said he was "frustrated" with her response, which was the "catalyst" in his decision to consider an Edwards challenge of his own.

"I felt like she was trying to pick her constituents," Benoit said. "In my opinion, it works the other way around."

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