When Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley first unveiled the state’s new redistricting map, Rep. Donna Edwards deemed it “deeply flawed” because three white members would likely represent Montgomery County’s large minority population in Congress in 2013. Edwards even offered up her own map as an alternative and was rejected. Now she is facing a primary challenger who not only has broad support among African-American voters in Maryland’s 4th congressional district but also ties to members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
According to a Roll Call report, local politicians and consultants say that former Prince George’s County state’s attorney Glenn Ivey, who is African-American, could be a “formidable” challenger that could make next April’s primary a “battle for the ages.”
Ivey considered challenging Edwards in 2010, the Afro-American newspaper reports, but dropped his bid because of a lack of broad support from the state’s Democratic Party for a run against Edwards, who was popular in more progressive and multiculturally diverse Montgomery County, which made up much of the district. But the map changes all that and the newly drawn district now includes more of the predominately African-American Prince George’s County, where as state’s attorney the popular Ivey reportedly helped the crime rate drop to a record low. And Ivey’s wife is a state delegate who represents a large Latino population.
In addition to splitting the black vote, Ivey’s bid could split the Congressional Black Caucus, although they traditionally back incumbents, as they did when Edwards challenged then-Rep. Al Wynn, who is Black. Ivey spokesman Ramon Karinoff told Roll Call that Ivey has “been in private contact” with members about his bid. He has previously worked for Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota).
“I’m not trying to create awkward situations for anybody,” Ivey said when asked if his former bosses would be involved in his campaign. “I think the key is the things I learned from them I could put to work immediately upon getting there.”
(Photos from left: Courtesy donnaedwards.house.gov/ glennivey.com)