Supporters Scuffle At Candidate Forum

U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D) appeared surprised by the attack.
U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D) appeared surprised by the attack. (By Melina Mara -- The Washington Post)
By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 18, 2006

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.

Several Edwards supporters said they were riding in a caravan to the forum at Prince George's Community College when they noticed a fight.

Pierre Cauthen, an Edwards volunteer, said two Wynn supporters were ripping up Edwards signs when someone from her campaign asked them to stop.

"Words were exchanged," Cauthen said. "And the Wynn supporter hit the Donna Edwards supporter. Then another Wynn supporter jumped on him, too."

Wynn said yesterday that his supporter was acting in self-defense.

"One of their people hit my people," Wynn said. "They got the worst of it."

Deidra Hall, a spokeswoman for the college, said a witness called about an altercation involving the "snatching of signs." Hall said one person was given a citation for disorderly conduct. No other details, including the names of the campaign workers, were available.

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."

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company