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With Support From Unions, Wynn Gets Backing for Another Term

By Annapolis Notebook
Friday, January 11, 2008

U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) received an enthusiastic endorsement yesterday for his election to a ninth term in Congress from several large unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

Wynn is locked in a tight race for the Democratic nomination in Maryland's 4th congressional district with four candidates, including Prince George's attorney Donna F. Edwards. Edwards came within three percentage points of defeating Wynn in 2006.

Unions that took part in the Wynn event included locals of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, the Washington D.C. Building and Trades Construction Council, and the Communication Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Labor leaders acknowledged a split in the local union movement over the race.

Last month, the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 endorsed Edwards. SEIU has since funded automated phone calls and an anti-Wynn mailing in the county, and filed a report with the Federal Election Committee this week indicating that it has spent more than $250,000 on advertising in the race.

But union leaders backing Wynn said yesterday that the incumbent has supported issues important to their members for years and that they were unwilling to abandon him now. They cited his support for raising the minimum wage and protections for federal workers and his opposition to NAFTA.

Union officials were joined by Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), who called Wynn a "real fighter" for workers. In an interview, he noted that Wynn was an early supporter of his own campaign for comptroller and indicated that he believes Wynn's seniority makes him best positioned to advance progressive causes in Congress. But Franchot noted that he has many friends supporting Edwards.

Proving the point, in the afternoon, the liberal group Progressive Maryland held an event highlighting its support for Edwards. In a statement, Executive Director Sean Dobson said Wynn "has cast votes in Congress that do not reflect the progressive values of his district." Among those Dobson highlighted was a Wynn vote for an energy bill supported by President Bush, and a 2005 bill that made it more difficult for consumers to file for bankruptcy.

-- Rosalind S. Helderman

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