COLLEGE PARK – Little has changed in the two months since Democrat Donna Edwards scored a convincing win in a special election to Congress from Maryland’s 4th District.
Except that this time, Edwards is running as the incumbent.
Edwards will again face Republican nominee Peter James, whom she beat with 80.5 percent of the vote in June’s special election to fill the seat vacated by former Rep. Al Wynn, D-Mitchellville.
The district now is as heavily Democratic as it was in the special election, and Edwards maintains the same large lead in fundraising that helped her to defeat James once already.
James acknowledged that the numbers do not add up for him and that, statistically, winning is an outside chance “unless my opponent does something horrendous.”
The 4th District sprawls over parts of Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, mostly inside the Capital Beltway. Voter registration is overwhelmingly Democratic: 258,684 registered Democrats to 48,875 registered Republicans, or 70.3 percent to 13.5 percent of the total. Republicans are even outnumbered by the 58,664 unaffiliated voters in the district.
And as of June 30, Edwards had raised more than $1.3 million for her campaign, spent $1.2 million and had $99,649 on hand, according to her most recent report with the Federal Election Commission. James has raised $22,876, spent $22,144 and has $732 on hand as of June 30.
Patrick E. Gonzales, president of Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, said the 4th District is a tough one for a Republican and although nothing is impossible, he expects Donna Edwards to win.
“With a Democrat-to-Republican ratio of more than 10-1,” Gonzales said, “it’s almost impossible for a Republican to be successful in that district.”
The bigger challenge for Edwards was the February primary, when she unseated Wynn, an eight-term incumbent, in a high-profile race that she won with 58.9 percent of the vote. Wynn resigned from Congress in March, sparking the special June election to fill out his remaining term. Edwards and James first squared off then.
Despite the history, and the odds, James said he will continue to make appearances at fairs and civic clubs such as the Kiwanis, as well as Republican meetings as he campaigns through the fall.
He said he is more interested in raising the issue of money rather than raising money itself. James said his campaign will continue to focus on educating the public on the monetary system, since he believes that most people do not understand what money is, how it’s made and what the repercussions of the monetary system are.
Even though she is now an incumbent, Edwards will still campaign and make appearances, said Jonny Akchim, her Montgomery County field director. He said she is also focused now on “providing high-quality constituent services” for residents.
Since the turnout at the special election was “unbelievably well” and voters may be oversaturated with field queries and surveys that have grown due to the sheer number of elections this year, Akchim said the Edwards campaign is careful not to overdo the campaigning.”
Edwards’ press secretary Dan Weber said the congresswoman will probably pick up campaigning at Metro stops again when it is closer to November.