Edwards says she won’t give up the fight

By Taylor Haire and Tyisha Henderson
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writers

LANHAM – Despite losing the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate against Chris Van Hollen Tuesday night, U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, D-4th District, walked onto the stage for her concession speech to “Girl On Fire” by Alicia Keys and was greeted by hundreds of cheering supporters.

Growing emotional at times, Edwards said that although she was disappointed about the election results, she urged Maryland and Democrats not to give up the fight for progressive causes.

“Our battle is not over, and our work is not done,” Edwards said during her 10-minute speech at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 26, facility in Lanham. “It is about leading fearlessly and repairing a broken political system.”

Edwards thanked every person who contributed to her campaign and to all of her supporters.

Donna Edwards is greeted by supporters after her loss to Chris Van Hollen in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Photo by Tyisha Henderson.

Donna Edwards is greeted by supporters after her loss to Chris Van Hollen in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate. Photo by Tyisha Henderson.

She also warned her supporters that Maryland was on the verge of having a majority male congressional delegation.

“When will the voices of people of color, of women, of labor, of black women be heard?” Edwards said. “When will our voices be effected in a big party? It is time for us to have our seat at the table. It is time to call the question.”

Benjamin Gerdes, who served as the communications director for Edwards, said the 57-year-old Prince George’s County resident has the drive and experience needed to make change.

He said he has been impressed with Edwards since he met her in 2008 because of her hard work, both in Congress and as a single mother.

“I think that we’ve run a great campaign regardless of the outcome,” Gerdes said. “We’ve done a fantastic job and are happy with the work that was done.”

Carolyn Howard, an Edwards’ supporter who worked the polls throughout the day, said she supported Edwards because the congresswoman is an honest person with high integrity.

Howard said she was disappointed in some of the criticism that Edwards faced during the campaign by opponents who said she was not good at constituent services.

“How can you go against a person like that?” Howard said. “People went against her, a lot of untruths were told and they had to do that for her opponent to win.Dirty politics is what I call them. It’s a sad day in Prince George’s County.”

Bill Dempsey, who has been a supporter of Edwards since meeting her 15 years ago, said he has never met anyone like Edwards. He said she has great judgment in dealing with hard situations.

“She has a fire in the belly aspect about her,” Dempsey said. “Nobody thought it would work, but she [Edwards] was willing to take the risk.”

Joan Walsha, a New York native who is a national affairs correspondent for “The Nation,” said she recently wrote a profile about Edwards. She said she decided to do the profile because she has always admired Edwards and agrees with her stands on the issues.

“I am a progressive and she is a progressive,” Walsha said.

Edwards has represented Maryland’s 4th congressional district since 2008.

Originally from Yanceyville, North Carolina, Edwards currently resides in Fort Washington.

She has a bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, with a double major in Spanish and English. She also has a law degree from the Franklin Pierce Law Center, currently known as University of New Hampshire School of Law.

She began her career as an executive director for the Arca Foundation, Foundation for a New Democracy, and the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

Edwards had hoped to be the first African-American woman to ever represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate. Throughout the campaign, she argued that the mostly white-male dominated U.S. Senate could use a black woman to ensure that all different types of people are represented.

Edwards campaigned on education, gun violence prevention, women rights, Medicare and more.

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