It's about Iraq
Supporters Scuffle At Candidate Forum
By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 18, 2006; B01
The increasingly contentious race between U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn and his main Democratic primary challenger, Donna Edwards, led to a police call during a forum Wednesday night when a member of Wynn's team allegedly hit a volunteer for Edwards's campaign.
The fight outside the forum in Largo echoed the verbal pounding that Wynn endured from Edwards, a Prince George's County civic activist who has mounted a lively challenge to the seven-term incumbent congressman.
While the two sides exchanged blame outside, Wynn appeared to get the worst of it inside.
In their first time sharing a stage, Edwards attacked Wynn on his votes supporting the war in Iraq, the repeal of the estate tax and changes in bankruptcy law.
Edwards said the Democratic congressman has voted in "lockstep" with the Republicans, making him out of sync with the 4th Congressional District, which stretches across parts of Prince George's and Montgomery counties.
She hit him hard on his vote to send troops to Iraq, a stance that Wynn has since described as a mistake. "He says, 'Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have voted for it,' " Edwards said. "Well, 'sorry' is just too late."
Wynn, who appeared unprepared for her criticism, said Edwards clearly did not know what he had delivered for the district.
"There's a difference between rhetoric and results," he said at the forum.
Yesterday, Wynn described Edwards, an attorney and executive director of the District-based Arca Foundation, as a "professional critic from the sidelines."
"She's never had to cast a vote," Wynn said. "No one knows who she is or what she's done. . . . She is critical of my votes. She says I shouldn't make mistakes, but she's never had to cast a vote."
Edwards has cast Wynn as a "complacent" incumbent who has betrayed his constituency.
"He voted in support of the war, but it's really more than that," Edwards said yesterday. "It's his voting the Republican line. I don't understand it for our district. It doesn't represent our district."
Edwards said at the Largo forum that Wynn's positions no longer match those of his constituency.
"As long as he chooses to vote lockstep with the Republicans, we will not have health care," Edwards said in response to whether she supports an affordable health care system. She said she supports a single-payer system.
Her supporters, a sizable crowd, broke into thunderous applause.
If he loses, it will be because of the war. Another lazy incumbent unprepared to be challenged. But that is a winning argument with black voters, votes with the GOP and voted for the war.
It's rare for a first time candidate to toss a sitting Congressman, but he could have real problems. And not just now. Even if he wins, she isn't going anywhere.
Wynn doesn't even have a defense for the unpopular votes, for which Edwards gutted him on stage.
She's getting some online support, but clearly she needs more.
The lesson here is that you can run against Iraq, you can run hard against Iraq and do well.
posted by Steve @ 2:37:00 PM