Progressive Democrats of America helped progressive challenger Donna Edwards win a stunning upset victory against eight-term incumbent Albert Wynn. Despite Wynn's huge advantages in terms of special interest contributions and insider connections, Donna Edwards marshaled support from what Wynn's campaign dismissed as "a vast left-wing conspiracy" to defeat the most conservative member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
With 76% of the precincts reporting, Donna led by 60% to 35%, a margin of more than 22,000 votes. Because the 4th district is overwhelmingly Democratic, Donna is a sure bet to win this seat in the November general election.
Tonight as PDA celebrated victory with Donna, the room was packed with PDA members led by National Board Chair Mimi Kennedy PDA and Vice Chair Steve Shaff, Board Member Steve Cobble, Store Director Tom Pallow, and Maryland State Coordinator Mike Hersh. PDA was on the ground helping Donna from the start. National Field Coordinator Diane Shamis led the PDA effort helping Donna.
Mimi flew in from L.A. Friday night to ride through Maryland's 4th District on a Bus, then rallied for Donna. Steve Shaff, Steve Cobble, Diane Shamis, Tom Pallow, and Mike Hersh also rode in the caravans to canvass at several shopping centers on the way to the big rally for Donna Edwards at the United Food & Commercial Workers offices in Landover, MD.
The PDA team made countless calls for Donna, and also worked at Giant supermarkets, metro stops and door-knocked to help achieve this victory. Diane Shamis and Tom Pallow organized a nation-wide virtual phone bank as well. Mimi stayed in Maryland through Tuesday night, working the precincts, meeting voters at Metro stops, and then celebrating with Donna and the PDA team in Prince Georges County.
Saturday, PDA National Board Member Rev. Lennox Yearwood rushed back from an appearance in Texas to Prince Georges County, where was "born, went to public school, was ordained, and commissioned into the Air Force." Why? To rally voters for Donna Edwards, the most exciting and progressive candidate this district has seen.
At the Saturday rally, Rev Yearwood fired up the crowd as only he can. He spelled out how damaging incumbent Albert Wynn's mistakes--like voting to attack Iraq and voting for the bankruptcy bill--have been for people in the 4th District of Maryland and other Americans. Mimi matched his energy, taking on Albert Wynn's allegations that a "vast left wing conspiracy" is backing Donna and giving a big shout out to the new PDA Prince Georges chapter leadership.
Local Democracy for America (DFA) leaders including Sharon Polidoro, Maida Schifter, Suzanne St. Cyr and Donna's Montgomery County Campaign Organizer Gina Angiola joined in the celebration.Democracy For America Executive Director Jim Dean, like Mimi, rode through this sprawling district, meeting voters, waving signs, passing out information about Donna. Kim Gandy, the President of the National Organization for Women praised Donna's courage and dedication. After the rally, Kim put on a "PDA for Edwards" sticker and joined us in the group pictures and discussed ways NOW and PDA can work closely together.
SEIU Executive Director Terry Cavanagh put the contest in context, recounting his conversation with a member of Congress who wondered "why are you doing this to Al Wynn? There are worse Democrats than Al Wynn." The reply: "Give me some time and maybe we'll think of one." Other supporters spoke of Donna's willingness to listen, her eagerness to help, her goodness, decency, intelligence and more. Jim Dean said this is a contest between "the culture of incumbency vs. the culture of activism." He sounds like a natural partner for PDA, and Mimi discussed issues like election protection with him before and after the rally.
Donna thanked all of us for our support. Donna told us she's lived in Prince Georges County for 25 years, the county where she raised her son. In a voice worn by weeks and weeks of hard work, talked about her commitment to the people of the 4th District, her fundamental understanding of the difficulties facing working people, single moms--real Americans. As Donna explains, if we elect her to Congress we won't have to push her or lobby her to do the right thing on universal health care or getting us out of Iraq or helping families hurt by the foreclosure crisis.
Donna promised us, "January 2009, my name will be right on top of the list," of the leaders making a difference on all these issues and more. And PDA is right on top of the list among the "vast left wing conspiracy" poised to usher Albert Wynn back into private life. As the chant rocked the room: "Al Wynn? Time to go!" and "It's Donna Time!" Voters in Maryland's 4th District agreed.
Thanks to everyone who pitched in to help Donna win!