Donna Edwards jumps into the race for her old Md. congressional seat

Donna F. Edwards, the former five-term Maryland congresswoman, has launched a bid for her former seat in the 4th Congressional District, reshapinga race that already includes several former and current Prince George’s County public officials.

The seat is open this year after Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) announced that he would not seek reelection and would instead run for state attorney general. In an interview with The Washington Post ahead of her announcement, Edwards said she spent the past two months deliberating over whether to enter the race — “it was not an easy choice to make,” she said — before ultimately deciding that “I still have service to give.”

“There’s a point at which you can’t just sit on the sidelines. You have to go back in, and I felt like I needed to go back in and fight for the things that are important to this district and to the country, which is why I feel so good about beginning this campaign,” Edwards said.

Edwards’s foray into the race is likely to pose a heftier challenge for her opponents, many of whom have their own distinct track records of public service in Prince George’s but without the benefit of her 8½ years in Congress — something Edwards said she planned to emphasize during her campaign.

She will take on Del. Jazz Lewis (D), a protege of House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), who endorsed him; Glenn Ivey, who served as county state’s attorney from 2002 to 2010 before running unsuccessfully against Brown in 2016; and former delegate Angela Angel, who served two terms in the House of Delegates and advocated for domestic-violence-prevention legislation.Ivey put out his first radio ad campaign Thursday, highlighting his record as a prosecutor and his development of a domestic-abuse unit and after-school programs for at-risk youth.

Because the 4th District — which also includes parts of Anne Arundel and Montgomery counties — votes overwhelmingly Democratic, the primary campaign is expected to draw the most heated competition and fundraising. Democrat James Curtis Jr. is also running, along with one Republican, Jeff Warner.

Edwards served in the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2017 — a liberal stymied by the Republican majority for much of her tenure — before running unsuccessfully in 2016 for the seat vacated by former U.S. senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D).

“I have a record to run on — a record in the Congress, in the House of Representatives, to run on — and I plan to do that,” Edwards said. “There are some things I worked on in Congress where I was at the vanguard, whether it was on opioids or ending the federal death penalty, or the fight for the $15 minimum wage, back before it was popular.”

In a campaign video announcing her run, she highlighted a three-month, 12,000-mile road trip she took in 2017 that she said she took to learn more about the country during President Donald Trump’s administration, bonding with people she met over the costs of insulin and the cost of her own medicine for multiple sclerosis, “bringing my perspective as a Black woman from Prince George’s County to the national conversation.”

Edwards had accused the Democratic Party of not doing enough to uplift the voices of women and minorities after she lost the Democratic primary in 2016 to the eventual winner of the general election, Sen. Chris Van Hollen. She said she believed that Democrats had made progress nationally since then — but pointed out that Maryland currently has no women in its eight-membercongressional delegation. “For a state that prides itself in being really progressive, we need to do something about that,” she said Wednesday.

Edwards said she planned to prioritize addressing public health and health-care-infrastructure inequities, lowering prescription drug costs, and — as a former member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — ensuring adequate infrastructure and transportation resources for the region. She said she also planned to fight to bring a new FBI headquarters to the district — something she advocated for before leaving Congress while Virginia and Maryland lawmakers lobbied to bring the headquarters to their areas, a competition of sorts that is ongoing.

In her campaign video, Edwards also said she would prioritize criminal justice reform, strengthening democracy and environmental justice, and ensuring people have living wages. “We’ll make the wealthy finally pay their fair share, so we can start bringing down the cost of living for our families,” she said.

Edwards, who started her career as a Lockheed Martin contractor at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, later became a lawyer and philanthropist, co-founding the National Network to End Domestic Violence, which helped spearhead efforts to pass the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.

Since leaving Congress, Edwards ran unsuccessfully for Prince George’s county executive in 2018. She became a political analyst on network news, as well as a contributing columnist with The Post.

“I’ve never really fully jumped out” of politics, she said.

Via Washington Post

OPINION

Go Donna. As a leader, Donna was always thoughtful, pragmatic, solution-minded commentary that she offers on MSNBC in her own analyses. We are very impressed with her and we need people in Congress who can offer solutions to our many hard questions on governing including for PGCPS and the Prince George’s County in general. She is the best proven candidate who took the bull by its horns!

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