WASHINGTON – Just a few thousand votes separate U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn from challenger Donna Edwards in the 4th Congressional District as votes continued to trickle in from a problem-plagued primary election.
The situation is a new one for Wynn, who hasn’t received less than 75 percent of the vote since 1992, when he first won the office with 28 percent of the vote.
With 95 percent of the vote in, Wynn was ahead with 50 percent to Edwards’ 46 percent, according to Associated Press numbers in late evening Wednesday.
Edwards, head of a nonprofit foundation, is not ready to concede. She spent Wednesday in front of the Prince George’s County Board of Elections looking for answers about balloting problems, from missing cards to spotty vote counting.
“We know we won this election,” Edwards said. “This is not Florida and this is not Ohio. I’m not going to rest until this is resolved.”
In Montgomery County and Baltimore City, as well as in other counties, numerous voting problems were reported. Courts ordered Montgomery and Baltimore City polls to remain open an extra hour to accommodate voters turned away because of the difficulties. The problems delayed results in many races.
Representatives for the Wynn campaign declined to comment until official results are released.
The 4th District crosses Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, with Edwards dominating the former and Wynn commanding the latter in Tuesday’s voting.
Unofficial and incomplete results show Wynn with 56 percent to Edwards’ 40 percent in Prince George’s, according to the county’s Board of Elections Web site.
However, the incumbent struggled to capture Montgomery County voters who have only seen his name on the ballot since the area was redistricted in 2002. Edwards took 60 percent compared to Wynn’s 34 percent there, according to that county board’s Web site.
One of the keys to Edwards’ strength was her criticism of Wynn’s authorization of the war in Iraq in 2002, a vote Wynn later admitted was wrong. She called Wynn “Maryland’s Joe Lieberman,” after the Connecticut senator who lost the primary over his support for the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.
Edwards’ success has come as a surprise to many in the party. Her campaign launched in April with little media fanfare and with a smaller treasury than the Wynn campaign’s.
“For her to come as close as we are at the moment is fabulous against a seven-term incumbent,” said Art Brodsky, 53, communications director for Public Knowledge, who lives in Olney and volunteered for Edwards’ campaign.
“The real story here is, absent winning, Donna Edwards just emerged as fabulous political star,” he said. “She’s going to be a person to be reckoned with in the next few years.”
But the rivalry is not expected to impair the eventual winner’s general election campaign.
“I feel very strongly that competition is good in business, it’s good in sports and it’s good in politics,” said Terry Lierman, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party. “Both are terrific candidates and will be a good reflection of their district and will have no problem being elected in November.”
The winner will face Michael Moshe Starkman, of Aspen Hill, who won the Republican nomination Tuesday.