Donna Edwards Replacements Start Lining Up (Updated)
Updated March 11, 4:04 p.m. | Rep. Donna Edwards’ Senate bid sounded the starting bell Tuesday for a competitive primary for her House Seat.
“I think it’s very likely that you could have a very crowded field,” said former Democratic Rep. Albert Wynn, who represented the Maryland district for more than a decade until 2008, when Edwards ousted him. “It’s a window of opportunity for another generation.” Old Line State Democrats are facing upheaval in the ranks following Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s decision to retire. Edwards and her Democratic House colleague, Chris Van Hollen, have announced bids for the rare open Senate seat, creating crowded and definitive primaries in their House districts.
Edwards represents the 4th District, which includes Prince George’s County and parts of Anne Arundel County. The district overwhelmingly votes for Democrats, and President Barack Obama won it with 78 percent in 2012. A majority of the population — 54 percent — is African-American.
Approximately 75 percent of the district’s population is in Prince George’s County, according to 2010 census data, and candidates will have to perform well there in the primary to win the nod. Most of the potential candidates represent or have represented some part of Prince George’s County.
Based on conversations with Maryland Democrats and potential candidates, here’s a list of potential congressional hopefuls for the district:
- Former State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey — Ivey was the first to get into the race when he announced his candidacy Wednesday. “The people of this district deserve a Congress that works for them — that spends less time fighting with each other and more time fighting for you,” he wrote in an email announcement. “With your help, I would like to get back in the ring and continue the fight to help people improve their lives and achieve their dreams.” Ivey worked in Prince George’s County from 2003 through 2011. He mounted a brief primary challenge to Edwards in 2012 before dropping out due to a lack of funds.
- Former Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown — Before Brown served statewide, he represented Prince George’s County as a delegate. In his 2014 gubernatorial bid, he won with 85 percent of the vote there. If he enters the race, he has the advantage of near universal name recognition in the district. A source close to Brown said he’s strongly considering a run and will make his intentions known soon. But there could be lingering bad feeling toward Brown, whose 2014 loss gave the governorship to Republicans for only the second time since 1969.
- State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks — Alsobrooks was the first woman to be elected to that role for Prince George’s County. She is currently serving her second term in the post. She did not respond to CQ Roll Call’s request for comment on the House race.
- Del. Michael Vaughn — Vaughn, who represents part of Prince George’s County, told CQ Roll Call, “I am firmly considering it,” on Wednesday.
- State Sen. C. Anthony Muse — Muse has represented Prince George’s County in the state Senate since 2007. He did not return CQ Roll Call’s requests for comment.
- Former Del. Aisha Braveboy — Braveboy represented part of Prince George’s County in the House of Delegates until she left office in January. Braveboy told CQ Roll Call Tuesday the House seat is, “something I’ve got to think through. But right now I’m just focused on [Edwards].”
- Prince George’s County Councilwoman Andrea Harrison — Harrison has served in that body since 2008. An aide to Harrison did not rule out a run Wednesday, but said she is not thinking about it at the moment.
- Former Prince George’s County Councilwoman Ingrid Turner — Turner served in that role from 2006 through December 2014. CQ Roll Call was unable to reach her for comment.
- Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk — Peña-Melnyk represents a district that includes parts of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties. She declined to comment Wednesday through a spokesperson.
The list could get even longer. State senators, delegates and council members have a free pass to run for Edwards’ House seat because they are not up for re-election until 2018.
What’s more, aspiring Maryland Democrats might have other opportunities.
Democratic Reps. John Sarbanes, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Elijah E. Cummings and John Delaney are also considering Senate bids. If any of them run, Maryland Democrats could endure huge turnover, creating even more opportunities for aspiring pols.
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