Prince George's State's Attorney Ivey won't challenge Edwards for House

By Jonathan Mummolo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 13, 2010; B03

Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey announced Tuesday that he would not challenge Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D) and instead will go into the private sector next year after his term as chief prosecutor ends.

Ivey (D) cited "personal reasons" and a desire for a "vacation" from elective politics but shied from specifics. "I didn't have the appetite for another political campaign right now," he said.

Responding to questions from reporters, he ruled out his health, his family's wishes or any potential scandal as reasons for his decision.

"My family's been pretty strong in favor of running," Ivey said. "It wasn't them, you know, talking me out of it. I just think it's time for me to try something different for a little while."

His comments came at a hastily organized news conference at Fratelli, an Italian restaurant in the Cheverly area. He said he wanted to let his supporters know his decision before they got too invested in the potential campaign. Ivey did not rule out running for office again one day.

His ambitions have been a focus of speculation among Maryland political observers for the past year. With high name recognition and a strong résumé, he was long seen as a logical contender to replace term-limited County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D).

But Ivey said last month that he was instead forming an exploratory committee to look at challenging Edwards in the Democratic primary this year, a move that surprised some party insiders and stoked expectations of a potentially fierce battle in the 4th District.

Ivey said that he was considering running in part because of the impact he might have had, given the influence Democrats wield in Washington. "You've got President Obama in the White House, Democratic control of the House and the Senate. I think it's a great time to push a progressive agenda," Ivey said at the time.

He repeatedly declined to attack Edwards directly on her record, however, saying it was too early to do so. A call to Edwards's spokesman was not returned Tuesday night.

As the county's chief prosecutor since 2002, Ivey has seen his share of high-profile victories and controversies. In 2008, his office secured the conviction of former Prince George's County homeland security official Keith A. Washington, who was sentenced to 45 years in prison for fatally shooting one unarmed furniture deliveryman and wounding another at Washington's Accokeek home.

Ivey drew sharp criticism from civil rights activists last year after a nearly year-long probe into the death of homicide suspect Ronnie L. White in the county jail led to no charges. He said the investigation didn't produce enough evidence to obtain an indictment.

Ivey has made domestic violence a high priority for his office, enlisting the help of churches to increase awareness of the issue through the Project Safe Sunday program and creating a unit to focus on the problem.

Ivey underwent surgery to remove a small cancerous tumor from his kidney in 2004, and the procedure was deemed a success.

Before becoming state's attorney, Ivey, a Princeton and Harvard graduate, served as senior legislative assistant to Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and chief counsel to former U.S. Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.). Ivey was assistant U.S. attorney for the District in the 1990s.

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