WASHINGTON – The race for Maryland’s Congressional District 4 seat has gone national, as U.S. Rep. Albert Wynn and competitor Donna Edwards vie for endorsements and cash to fill their war chests.
Edwards’ receipts total $214,365 with more than three months to go until the February primary. Much of her money comes from out-of-state philanthropists like Lynde Uihlein, heiress to the Schlitz Brewing fortune, and singer Barbra Streisand.
“That kind of money doesn’t normally intervene in a primary,” said Frances Lee, a University of Maryland, College Park professor of government and politics.
“It’s not your run-of-the-mill primary in that sense,” she said. “There’s more ideological framing that’s drawing people in from around the country.”
Wynn, D-Mitchellville, has raised $592,602, with 49 percent of contributions coming from political action committees, including those of AT&T and Pepco.
“One issue of great concern to voters during the 2006 primary were the large amounts of corporate political action committee donations that Al Wynn had accepted,” said Andrew Kujan, of the Maryland political blog freestatepolitics.us, in an e-mail.
“To this end, the congressman has made no changes,” said Kujan, who supports Edwards.
When Edwards lost to Wynn by fewer than 3,000 votes in the 2006 Democratic primary, she had raised $345,006, and less than 10 percent of her money came from PACs.
Wynn raised $566,987 before the primary, nearly half from PACs. This time around, Wynn has the support of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was to stump for him in Silver Spring Saturday.
Edwards now has the support of left-wing bloggers and a host of influential political groups, like the League of Conservation Voters and Progressive Maryland.
In response to Pelosi’s support of Edwards, nationally recognized bloggers Atrios, MyDD, Color of Change and Daily Kos have teamed up to raise $100,000 for Edwards online over a four-day period that ended Saturday.
“Our goal is to make change happen in terms of folks who are not on the same page as their constituents,” said James Rucker, executive director of Color of Change, an organization that voices concerns of the black community.
Color of Change was planning on doing its own fundraiser, when Rucker said the group was approached to join. As of Friday afternoon, the effort had raised $47,000.
“The reason you see some big out-of-state Democratic activists as well as big-name bloggers stepping up to help Donna,” Kujan said, “is because we see a chance to elect a Democrat who will work to create a more progressive America with her actions.”