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Dean's Brother Pushing to Unseat Rep. Wynn

The Democratic National Committee and its chairman, Howard Dean, aren't getting involved in today's party primary in Maryland's 4th District, where Rep. Al Wynn (Md.) is trying to hold on against challenger Donna Edwards. The DNC does not make a habit of trying to unseat Democratic incumbents.

But it's not quite that simple, because Edwards is getting plenty of help from Democracy for America, the liberal grassroots group that was founded by Dean back in 2004 and is now run by the ex-Vermont governor's brother, Jim Dean.

As the DFA's blog noted today, Jim Dean attended a big rally in Landover, Md., on Saturday for Edwards, a liberal favorite, and he "rode through this sprawling district, meeting voters, waving signs, passing out information about Donna."

On its endorsement list, DFA says it is backing Edwards because "Al Wynn has been on the run, flipping positions and double-talking his record since the campaign started. While Donna has stood up against the war in Iraq since the beginning, Congressman Wynn voted with Bush on Iraq from day one."

This isn't the first time DFA has weighed in against a Democratic incumbent. The group backed Ned Lamont -- as did several other liberal organizations -- in the 2006 Connecticut Senate Democratic primary against Connecticut's Joe Lieberman.

When DFA endorsed Lamont in that primary, Howard Dean told Roll Call (subscription required) he had "no thoughts" about his old group's endorsement.

"I don't talk to them," Dean said. "We don't share information, we don't talk politics. ... There's no cooperation between the DFA and the DNC at all ... we remain neutral in primaries."

That policy still stands today, so the DNC is officially neutral in the Wynn-Edwards race. But it's still interesting to see the organization founded by the DNC chairman running around trying to defeat Democratic incumbents. Wynn could complain about this, but he's probably a little too busy today to worry about it.

By Ben Pershing  |  February 12, 2008; 3:12 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Campaign  
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