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And Then There Were Six?

Rosalind Helderman

Del. Herman L. Taylor II (D-Montgomery), an officer of the legislative black caucus and co-chair of its annual conference, confirmed Wednesday that a group of business executives in Prince George's are attempting to draft him to enter the race for the Democratic nomination for Congress in Maryland's 4th Congressional District. He would challenge Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.)

Wynn already faces four challengers, including activist Donna F. Edwards, who came within 3 percentage points of knocking Wynn off in last September's primary. Taylor said the group is dissatisfied with Wynn but also unhappy with the alternatives, including Edwards. He indicated the group had organized a meeting to try to convince him to jump into the race Wednesday night at the Radisson Hotel in Largo.

"When people with credibility and prominence talk to you, you take it very seriously," Taylor said, indicating that he had not contemplated a run for Congress until approached by the group, whom he would not identify. "There's been such a backlash that I'm amazed against the incumbent."

Edwards supporters, however, fear the effort may be an attempt to split opposition to Wynn, particularly in the portion of the 4th that includes Montgomery County, where Edwards soundly defeated Wynn in her last unsuccessful effort.

Art Brodsky, an Edwards backer who lives in Taylor's district, noted the two-term delegate would be entering the race with only 10 weeks to organize a campaign, against candidates who have already raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. With those dynamics, Brodsky said he didn't believe Taylor could really win the race, only draw votes from the already declared candidates, particularly Edwards. Plus, Taylor has been close with Wynn in the past. "The whole thing just doesn't make any sense to me," he said.

But Taylor said he would only jump into the race if he believed he had a real shot at the seat. He noted the group trying to convince him to run indicated they could raise quickly raise $300,000 to get him started. And he said, despite past associations with Wynn, he would run if convinced residents of the district are dissatisfied with him. The businessmen turned to him, Taylor said, because he also owns a business and has known some of them for years.

Edwards supporters "can't expect everybody who doesn't like [Wynn's] job performance is going to naturally fall in with her," Taylor said. "They may be looking for someone else."

Taylor will have to decide quickly. The deadline for filing to run in the Feb. 12 race is Monday.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  November 29, 2007; 10:26 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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