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Md. Challenger Edwards Wins Stunning Victory Over Long-Time Incumbent Wynn

Voters in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. cast their ballots in one of the most closely contested presidential races ever on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2008.

But at a party on the Eastern Shore, Gilchrest thanked his supporters and said it would be a long night with no immediate resolution to the race in sight, said spokeswoman Cathy Bassett.

Harris, along with state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (Queen Anne's) had put up a fierce challenge to Gilchrest, who they said had grown too moderate for his district, which includes part of Anne Arundel County.

Gilchrest voted against his party more times last year than any other House Republican. State Sens. E.J. Pipkin (Queen Anne's) and Andrew P. Harris (Baltimore County) attacked Gilchrest, but also each other, in an attempt to assume the mantle of the race's most conservative candidate.

Wynn angered progressives nationally by crossing party lines on several key votes and by accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in corporate donations, including thousands in the closing days before the election.

When Edwards, the director of a well-known foundation that hands out grants to progressive causes, came within 3.3 percentage points of beating Wynn in 2006, national activists saw the race as an opportunity to send a message that they would hold wayward Democrats accountable.

Both Edwards and Wynn attempted to link their candidacies to that of U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) in recent days, hoping to capitalize on expected heavy turnout for Obama in their 4th Congressional District, which includes parts of Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

Edwards told voters she best represented the kind of change Obama has been preaching, and Wynn argued he had proved himself a pragmatic bipartisan worker, like Obama.

Both candidates had made their ability to tackle the foreclosure crisis a centerpiece of their campaigns in the district, which has among the highest foreclosure rates in Maryland. They tangled over whether Wynn's 2005 decision to join Republicans in support of a bankruptcy reform bill had a role in worsening the crisis.

Wynn had urged voters to reject the national effort to oust him, arguing they would be foolish to give up his 15 years of seniority so soon after Democrats have assumed control of Congress.

In the closing days of the race, he went on the offensive against Edwards, alerting voters in automated calls to tax liens filed against Edwards's home for failure to pay taxes. She said that she had been honest about her financial struggles as a single mother and that she repaid all her debts.

Wynn also suggested to voters that Edwards was the puppet of outside forces attempting to dictate their representation, a frequent complaint of Prince George's County, which is home to two-thirds of the district's voters.

Supported by environmental groups and two large unions, Edwards pledged to accept no contributions from corporate political action committees and said her experience raising her son as a single mother made her better able to understand the struggles of county voters than Wynn.

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