Maryland: Edwards Likely to Take Office Before Other Frosh

Posted April 8, 2008 at 6:49pm

Fourth district Democratic nominee Donna Edwards was, not surprisingly, full of praise for a measure passed by the Maryland General Assembly late Monday night that will likely put her in office several months earlier than expected and give her a leg up in seniority over other incoming freshman Members next year.

In the overwhelmingly Democratic 4th district, the winner of the Democratic primary is all but assured a victory in the general election. After beating eight-term Rep. Albert Wynn (D) in February, Edwards was set to cruise to what amounted to a coronation in November.

But after Wynn announced late last month that he would leave Congress on May 31 to become a partner at the law firm Dickstein Shapiro, the state was left in a quandary as to whether to hold an expensive special primary and general election before November, or allow the seat to remain vacant until after the new year.

Last week, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) announced his support of a proposal to hold a special general election in the 4th while bypassing a special primary (which was expected to cost another $1 million) because of the fact that the party primaries took place less than two months ago.

The General Assembly gave O’Malley the ability to move forward with that plan before adjourning late Monday night.

The plan will allow the county central committees of the local Democratic and Republican parties to recommend candidates to run as the parties’ nominees in the special general. Edwards is all but assured of getting her party’s nomination. In February, Republicans chose technology consultant Peter James as their nominee. Other independent candidates also could qualify for the special general.

“The Governor and the General Assembly struck the right balance to create a process that will result in a single, fair Special General Election to secure full and continuous representation for the 4th District,” Edwards said in a statement on Tuesday. “I am excited that we now have roadmap in order to move forward. My priorities now include winning the special general election.”
— John McArdle