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Donna Edwards

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Title: Donna Edwards  
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Subject: Steny Hoyer, John Sarbanes, Dutch Ruppersberger, Elijah Cummings, Barbara Mikulski
Collection: 1958 Births, African-American Members of the United States House of Representatives, African-American Women in Politics, American Democracy Activists, American Lawyers, American Women Lawyers, American Women's Rights Activists, Baptists from the United States, Community Activists, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Female Members of the United States House of Representatives, Living People, Maryland Democrats, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Maryland, People from Caswell County, North Carolina, People from Fort Washington, Maryland, University of New Hampshire School of Law Alumni, Wake Forest University Alumni, Women in Maryland Politics
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Donna Edwards

Donna Edwards
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 4th district
Assumed office
June 17, 2008
Preceded by Albert Wynn
Personal details
Born Donna F. Edwards
(1958-06-28) June 28, 1958
Yanceyville, North Carolina,
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Wake Forest University
University of New Hampshire,
Religion Baptist

Donna F. Edwards (born June 28, 1958) is the Anne Arundel County.

A lawyer and longtime community activist, she defeated 15-year incumbent Albert Wynn in the 2008 Democratic primary,[1] and, following his resignation, won a special election on June 17, 2008, to fill the remainder of this term.[2] She was sworn in two days later on June 19, becoming the first African-American woman to represent Maryland in the United States Congress.[3] Edwards ran for a full term in November 2008, defeating Republican candidate Peter James with 85% of the vote.[4]

She sponsored an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would repeal the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.[5]


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • Community activism 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Committee assignments 3.1
    • Arrest during Darfur protest in Washington D.C. 3.2
    • Caucus memberships 3.3
  • Political campaigns 4
    • 2006 4.1
    • 2008 4.2
    • 2010 4.3
    • 2012 4.4
    • 2014 4.5
    • 2016 4.6
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life, education and career

Edwards was born in Yanceyville, North Carolina. She earned B.A. degrees in English and Spanish from Wake Forest University, where she was one of only six black women in her class.[6] After working for Lockheed Corporation at the Goddard Space Flight Center with the Spacelab program, she attended and earned a J.D. from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center). Edwards worked for Albert Wynn as a clerk in the 1980s, when he served in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Community activism

Edwards co-founded and served as the first executive director of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, an advocacy and legal support group for battered women. She worked to pass the 1994 Violence Against Women Act.

She later worked with Public Citizen, and then as the executive director of the Center for a New Democracy. In 2000 she became the executive director of the Arca Foundation, taking a leave of absence during her political campaign.

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Arrest during Darfur protest in Washington D.C.

On April 27, 2009, Rep. Donna Edwards was arrested outside the Sudan embassy during a protest against genocide in Darfur.[7] The Representative and five other US Congressional Representatives were protesting the blocking of aid to victims. They were arrested after ignoring warnings issued by police maintaining a police line to protect the embassy in Washington D.C.

The other U.S. lawmakers arrested during the protest were Reps. Jim Moran (D-Virginia), and Lynn Woolsey (D-California).[8]

Caucus memberships

Political campaigns

Edwards speaking with a U.S. Navy sailor in May 2009.


Edwards challenged seven-term incumbent Al Wynn in the 2006 Democratic primary - the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district. Edwards focused primarily on Wynn's voting record. Wynn, considered a conservative by African-American Democratic standards, was one of four Congressional Black Caucus members that voted for the 2002 Iraq War resolution. Edwards condemned the war before it started. Wynn eventually began to say he was misled by the Bush Administration and his vote was a mistake. Edwards opposed the repeal of the estate tax, which Wynn voted for. Similarly, Edwards criticized Wynn's vote for the bankruptcy bill of 2005, which eliminated some bankruptcy protections for individuals. Wynn supported the energy bill promoted by Vice President and former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney. Wynn opposed the net neutrality bill of 2006, which Edwards supports.

On August 16, 2006, before a debate at

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Albert Wynn
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 4th congressional district

Party political offices
Preceded by
George Miller
Chairperson of the House Democratic Policy Committee
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Steve Scalise
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Marcia Fudge

External links

  1. ^ Helderman, Rosalin S; Wan, William (2008-02-13). "Md. Challenger Edwards Wins Stunning Victory Over Long-Time Incumbent Wynn".  
  2. ^ a b Rosalind S. Helderman and James Hohmann (2008-06-17). "Edwards Wins Congressional Seat".  
  3. ^ Teitelbaum, Michael (2008-06-19). "Maryland’s Edwards Fills House".  
  4. ^ a b "2008 Elections for President, Congress, and Governor".  
  5. ^ "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to clarify the authority of Congress and the States to regulate the expenditure of funds for political activity by corporations. H.J.Res.25" (PDF).  
  6. ^ "Donna Edwards' Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "U.S. lawmakers arrested in Darfur protest at Sudan embassy". CNN. Retrieved 2009-04-27. 
  8. ^ 5 in Congress arrested at Darfur protest. April 27, 2009.
  9. ^ "Congressional Progressive Caucus Members". Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Wiggins, Ovetta (2006-08-18). "Supporters Scuffle At Candidate Forum".  
  11. ^ "For Congress in Maryland".  
  12. ^ "REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  13. ^ Spiegal, Brendan (2006-09-25). "Prolonged Vote Count in Md. 4 Ends With Victory for Wynn". Archived from the original on 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  14. ^ Teitelbaum, Michael (2008-01-08). "Challenger Seeks to Dramatize Rep. Wynn’s Lobbyist Links". Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  15. ^ Helderman, Rosalind (2008-02-13). "Edwards overpowers Wynn".  
  16. ^ : "Edwards Not Only Dem Interested in District 4".Washington Post
  17. ^ Maryland Board of Elections: 2008 Special 4th Congressional General Election Official Results.
  18. ^ Helderman, Rosalind."A GOP Congressional Candidate's Lonely Voice". Washington Post, 2008-06-13.
  19. ^ Washington Post


Edwards lives in Fort Washington, Maryland.

Personal life

On March 10, 2015, Edwards announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Mikulski (D) setting up a primary against Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).[19]


Edwards won against Warren Christopher in the Democratic primary, and then defeated Republican Nancy Hoyt and Libertarian Arvin Vohra with 70 percent of the vote in the general election.


Edwards won against George McDermott and Ian Garner in the Democratic primary, and then defeated Republican Faith M. Loudon and Libertarian Scott Soffen with 77 percent of the vote in the general election.


Edwards won against Delegate Herman L. Taylor, Jr. in the September, 2010, primary, and then defeated Republican Robert Broadus with 83 percent of the vote in the general election.


Edwards ran for a full term in November 2008 and was an overwhelming favorite; a Republican has never tallied more than 25 percent of the vote in the 4th district since it assumed its current configuration after the 1990 Census.[18] Indeed, many of the 4th district's residents already thought of her as the district's congresswoman even before the special election.[2] As expected, Edwards easily won a full term with 85 percent of the vote, one of the highest percentages in the nation for a Democrat facing major-party opposition.[4]

Edwards won the backing of the Republican Peter James and Libertarian Thibeaux Lincecum.[17] She took office two days later, giving her a leg-up on seniority over any new congresspersons who were elected in 2008.

After the primary, Wynn announced he would retire effective June 2008. Edwards won the Democratic nomination for the June 17, 2008, special election to serve out the last six months of Wynn's term.[16]

In the February 12, 2008, primary, Edwards defeated the eight-term incumbent in a rout, taking 60% of the vote to Wynn's 35%. The win virtually assured her of victory in the heavily Democratic district in November.[15]

Edwards at her victory rally on February 13, 2008

[14] In 2008, Edwards again challenged Wynn for his seat in the

Edwards with Danny Glover and Matt Stoller, January 2008.


The primary was held on September 12, 2006. Wynn defeated Edwards by 49.7 percent to 46.4 percent, with a margin of 2,725 votes out of more than 82,000 cast. George McDermott, a little-known candidate, took 3.9 percent.[12] The final tally of the primary was unclear for nearly two weeks because of widespread voting problems on new electronic voting machines in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.[13]

On August 30, 2006, the Washington Post endorsed Edwards in the primary race.[11]

This event brought much media attention to the race. [10]

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