Edwards Overpowers Wynn

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prince George's County lawyer Donna F. Edwards ousted eight-term Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D) yesterday, as voters backed her liberal insurgency against one of the state's longest-serving congressmen.

A second longtime congressman, Eastern Shore Republican Wayne T. Gilchrest, was trailing more conservative state Sen. Andrew P. Harris, who declared victory shortly after midnight.

Both Wynn and Gilchrest had been targeted by aggressive advertisement campaigns, funded in part with unprecedented spending by national groups, to convince voters they had fallen out of step with their districts during long years in Congress.

"The deed is done," Wynn told reporters. "I think the only thing that remains is to support the winner."

Just before midnight, Edwards emerged in front of a cheering crowd of supporters at a Largo hotel to claim the Democratic nomination.

"Today the voters went to the polls looking for a change, and they went out there looking for new leadership," Edwards told the crowd.

Edwards swamped Wynn in Montgomery County but was also running ahead in Prince George's, thought to be Wynn's stronghold.

With voting hours extended until 9:30 p.m. because of icy weather, election results arrived late in the closely contested race. After polls were scheduled to close at 8 p.m., voters cast provisional paper ballots, which will not be counted until Tuesday.

Elsewhere in Maryland, Gilchrest, a nine-term incumbent, was losing to Harris, a Baltimore County conservative who had argued Gilchrest had grown too moderate for his district, which includes part of Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore.

At an election night party, Gilchrest did not immediately concede defeat, instead thanking his supporters and predicting a long night, spokeswoman Cathy Bassett said.

Gilchrest voted against his party more times last year than any other House Republican. Harris and state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (Queen Anne's) had attacked Gilchrest, but also each other, as each attempted to assume the mantle of the race's most conservative candidate.

Other Maryland incumbents coasted to victory in their party primaries yesterday. They were Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R), House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D), Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D), Rep. John Sarbanes (D) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D).

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