Edwards to Take Oath Today

Posted June 18, 2008 at 4:48pm

Rep.-elect Donna Edwards (D-Md.), who swept to a special election victory Tuesday as expected, is scheduled to be sworn in at about 1:45 p.m. today.

Edwards will replace recently retired Rep. Albert Wynn (D) in Maryland’s 4th district. She is the first African-American woman to represent Maryland in Congress.

The 49-year-old nonprofit executive, who defeated Wynn earlier this year in the district’s Democratic primary by 22 points, blew out Republican Peter James, 80 percent to 18 percent.

The wide margin of victory is expected to be repeated in November when James, a supporter of Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) presidential bid, will again face Edwards in the general election. Edwards, who came to prominence in Prince George’s County by fighting the huge National Harbor development, narrowly lost a primary challenge to Wynn in 2006.

Though the race was never expected to be competitive, Edwards’ victory marks the fourth special election win in a row for House Democrats who are pointing to those elections as a sign of a Democratic tide that is building toward November.

On an individual level, Edwards’ win Tuesday will give the new Congresswoman several months of seniority on the freshman class that will take office in January, an important leg up in everything from picking office space to making contacts and implementing the liberal message she campaigned on.

Edwards’ victory over Wynn was fueled by several liberal groups, including labor unions, environmental organizations and MoveOn.org.

Although Wynn was an active member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the CBC issued a statement Wednesday welcoming Edwards to Congress.

“Her training as a spirited activist and grass-roots organizer will translate well in the halls of Congress,” CBC Chairwoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) said.

Edwards staffers said Wednesday that she had not yet received her committee assignments.