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Turnout Low in Fourth District Race

Anne Bartlett

Exceptionally low turnout is expected in Maryland's Fourth Congressional district, as voters go to the polls today in a special election to replace former Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D).

A spokeswoman for Democrat Donna F. Edwards, whose defeat of the eight-term incumbent in the February primary set up the special election, said participation appeared "sparse" as polling stations in the Montgomery and Prince George's district.

Peter James, Edwards' Republican opponent, said he and his wife were the 16th and 17th people to vote at Rocky Hill Middle School in Clarksburg at 9:30 a.m.

"It's like a ghost town out there," he said.

Marjorie Roher, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Board of Elections, said voting at one Montgomery precinct was at 2 percent turnout at 10 a.m. and reported hearing that 1 percent had voted in Prince George's as of 11 a.m.

"I don't know how much lower we can get than 1 or 2 percent," she said.

After falling to Edwards by 22 points, Wynn announced he would resign from Congress May 31. The winner of today's election will fill the remainder of Wynn's term, serving until January.

Edwards and James will face each other again in the November election in a contest of the next two-year term.

Edwards is heavily favored in overwhelmingly Democratic district. James said he has no plans for a victory party this evening, but instead will relax at home and begin planning his November effort. He said the low turnout could aid his effort today but suggested it would be significant if he received even 35 percent of the vote. No Republican has captured more than a quarter of the vote in the district since the early 1990s.

After greeting voters at polls all day, Edwards will party with supporters at the Lanham union hall of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 26. The event site is significant because the union backed Wynn in the February primary and hosted his party on Election Night then.

If elected, Edwards will be the first black woman elected to Congress from Maryland and the 27th ever elected nationally.

By Anne Bartlett  |  June 17, 2008; 12:26 PM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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