Ivey May Challenge Edwards

County Prosecutor Has Ample Hill Experience

Posted November 2, 2009 at 6:46pm

A second prominent Democrat in the Washington, D.C., suburbs is considering launching a primary bid against Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.).

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey (D), who was elected to a second four-year term in 2006, acknowledged Monday that a Congressional race was among the career moves he is contemplating as he looks to next year.

“I’m not going to run for re-election as state’s attorney, and I’m not looking for anything in the [Obama] administration,— Ivey said in an interview. “It’s up or out.—

Ivey, a former senior staffer on Capitol Hill who was appointed chairman of the Maryland Public Service Commission by former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening (D), declined to give a deadline for when he would make a decision about his 2010 plans except to say that it would come “in the next few weeks.—

But if he wanted to, Ivey could take longer. Maryland’s filing deadline is in early July, and the primary takes place on Sept. 14.

Ivey is a well-known figure in Prince George’s politics who is also contemplating a run for the vacant county executive post. But because of his work history, Ivey may find the prospect of serving in Congress particularly appealing.

If he were to run for the House, several Maryland Democratic insiders said Monday that Ivey would have to be considered a credible threat to the second-term Congresswoman who won a special election in 2008 after defeating former Rep. Albert Wynn (D) in a primary earlier that year.

Prince George’s County political consultant Wayne Clarke went so far as to say that Ivey — who has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and whose wife is a Maryland state Delegate — would be considered the favorite in a primary against the Congresswoman. “I’ve got to imagine his name recognition and his favorability [rating] and his organization in Prince George’s County is better than Donna’s only because he’s been there [longer], and I think he has a better organization on the ground,— Clarke said. “The question becomes is this a three-way race, or a two-way race?—

Ivey’s comments come a little over a month after state Del. Herman Taylor (D) acknowledged in a letter to supporters that he, too, was considering a run for higher office. Through a spokesman, Taylor declined to comment Monday, but Maryland insiders believe he is likely to challenge Edwards in 2010.

Taylor’s state legislative district lies on the eastern edge of Montgomery County, a portion of the district where Edwards has run particularly strong in the past.

The 4th Congressional district includes most of inside-the-Beltway Prince George’s County but also includes a sizable chunk of Montgomery County.

In her 2006 primary loss to Wynn, Edwards reaped her largest vote percentage in Montgomery County, and she built on that base in her 2008 campaign to sweep Wynn out of office. But if Taylor is able to hold down Edwards in Montgomery County, Ivey would almost certainly give her a serious run in Prince George’s County.

“Ivey would have a leg up. The bulk of the vote is going to come from Prince George’s County,— Clarke said.

In a primary, Edwards would have the advantage of incumbency on her side, which will help when it comes to fundraising and name recognition. Several powerful liberal groups, including EMILY’s List and major labor unions, played an integral role in her primary victory over Wynn, and would probably work to defend her. But Ivey has connections among those groups, and as of Sept. 30 Edwards didn’t exactly have an overwhelming cash-on-hand advantage.

According to her third-quarter Federal Election Commission report, Edwards raised just $39,000 from July through September and ended the quarter with about $56,000 in her war chest.

On Monday Ivey — who worked for former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), former Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) during his time on Capitol Hill — declined to get into his policy outlook or why voters should fire Edwards.

“This isn’t the time to be throwing stones,— Ivey said. “We’re going to make some internal decisions and go from there.—

One Democratic lobbyist familiar with the 4th district said there may be several issues Ivey could use to carve out his niche in the race.

“I don’t think [Edwards] has handled her in-district politics outside of some of the more core liberal constituencies,— the lobbyist said.

Edwards built a reputation as a progressive fighter and community organizer before coming to Congress, but the lobbyist said the individuals who are trying to recruit Ivey to run include players from local chambers of commerce, the business community and some influential individuals in the African-American community.

“I don’t get the sense she’s done as good of a job solidifying [those groups] as perhaps she should have. And I sense there’s a lot of cross-county politics going on,— the lobbyist said.

Edwards’ office declined to comment Monday on the prospect of a serious primary challenge next year.