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4th District Race Heats Up

Phyllis Jordan

The race for Maryland's 4th Congressional District seat is off to a fast start, if fundraising is any indicator.

According to campaign finance reports filed July 15, U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.) has raised more than $460,000 so far in his effort to win a ninth term in office. He has spent just over $153,000, leaving him with just under $400,000 to spend before the Feb. 12 Democratic primary, according to a quarterly report filed July 15 for the period through June 30.

And Wynn is, of course, still raising money.

Meanwhile, challenger Donna F. Edwards, who surprised many by coming within three 3 percentage points of unseating Wynn in last September's Democratic primary, also has been busy.

According to her report, Edwards has raised $130,815 for a rematch against Wynn. She has spent just over $22,000, leaving her with a little less than $111,000 on hand. Last time around, she raised $350,000 for her whole effort, and but she is aiming to bank twice that before the primary.

Real estate agent George E. Mitchell wants voters to know they have a third Democratic choice in the district, which covers most of Prince George's and some of Montgomery.

Before becoming a realtor six years ago, Mitchell, 52, spent years working in the restaurant business, becoming one of the first black managers with the Golden Corral franchise. He said he once supported Wynn but has become disillusioned with the congressman, whom Mitchell accuses of losing touch with constituents. Mitchell likens 4th District voters to customers unhappy with service at a restaurant or store.

"If you get bad service, you might come back a second time and maybe a third time," he said. "But after a third time, you're going to say, 'I'm not going to this store again.'"

Mitchell said he voted last September for Edwards, but she failed in her best effort to defeat Wynn. Now, he encourages her to step aside and join his campaign again. "I think Donna had her chance," he said.

Mitchell said he supports an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, a renewed focus on affordable housing and more sustained efforts to bring businesses to Prince George's. But above all, he said, he would focus on services for constituents.

Mitchell last served in elected office as the student member of the Baltimore school board as a high school senior. He promised to shake 500,000 hands between now and February -- an endeavor that will require him to shake 2,400 hands every day between now and February. And he said he aims to raise $500,000.

How's he doing so far? It's hard to say officially. The Federal Election Commission's Web site shows no July 15 report for his campaign. Mitchell said he wasn't sure why, since he sent the report last week. He said the report indicates he'd raised less than $1,000 by June 30, but he promised his efforts would pick up quickly.

By Phyllis Jordan  |  July 18, 2007; 6:54 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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