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Maryland: No Mfume Endorsement but Edwards Up on TV

A week after a key endorsement fell through for her campaign, lawyer and community activist Donna Edwards (D) went on the offensive in the first television ad buy of her primary race to unseat Rep. Albert Wynn (D).

Edwards spokesman Dan Weber said a miscommunication between Edwards and former Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D) was the cause of the premature endorsement announcement from the campaign. Edwards and Mfume both appeared at the Woodside Retirement Community in Fort Washington for an event that was closed to the public just before the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday. Weber said he didn’t find out until last week that an official endorsement by Mfume would not be happening. Mfume could not be reached for comment.

An endorsement from Mfume, the former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People who served alongside Wynn in the House, would have given Edwards a major boost.

Edwards’ first television ad, which is airing on cable stations in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, attacks Wynn for taking campaign contributions from large energy corporations. The ad, entitled “Constituents Track Wynn at Nuclear HQ,” uses footage from a rally she held outside a Wynn fundraiser in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

Ex-Rep. Schwarz Cuts Gilchrest a $1,000 Check

Former Rep. Joe Schwarz (Mich.), a moderate who was ousted in his Republican primary in 2006, weighed in last week on the bitter GOP primary battle that another well-known moderate, Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, is facing on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Schwarz lost to now-Rep. Tim Walberg (R) in part because Walberg received massive support from the powerful anti-tax group Club for Growth.

With the Club for Growth now backing state Sen. Andy Harris against Gilchrest, Schwarz said last week: “When I found out they were going after Wayne, I sent him a [$1,000] check. … I literally, immediately, made a contribution to his campaign.”

The efforts of the Club for Growth on behalf of Harris already have drawn heavy criticism from Gilchrest’s camp and that of state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R), who joined the race in November after the Club for Growth already had endorsed Harris.

Earlier this month, a Pipkin supporter filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Harris’ campaign and and the Club for Growth illegally coordinated campaign expenditures to the tune of about $250,000 for negative attack ads.

The complaint asks the FEC to investigate the Club for Growth ads that were released on Jan. 11 and Harris campaign mailers that were released at about the same time.

In a news release following a weekend debate sponsored by the Kent County Republican Central Committee, Pipkin’s campaign manager, Mike Brown, referenced the ongoing FEC complaint.

“Today we showed that we will break through the noise perpetrated by Andy Harris and the illegal activities of his supporters such as the Club for Growth,” Brown said. “The negative-as-usual scare tactics from the Andy Harris campaign will not resonate with voters and we aim to stop the lies.”

Last year, the FEC fined the Club for Growth $350,000 for failing to register as a political committee from 2000 to 2004.
— John McArdle

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