Congresswoman Donna Edwards fell short yesterday in her quest to become only the second black woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate. But she didn’t bow out of the race for the Democratic nomination before delivering a fiery speech that pointed out some uncomfortable truths to her fellow Maryland Democrats.
"Today Maryland is on the verge of having an all male (Congressional) delegation; in a so-called progressive state,” she said at her election night party in Lanham.
Edwards, a four term Congresswoman, faced an uphill climb in her fight against Montgomery County Congressman Chris Van Hollen. She didn’t have the money Van Hollen had in his war chest, nor did she have the backing of the state’s Democratic establishment.
After her loss, she didn’t bemoan either of those facts, but she did point out that as long as Democratic leaders are mostly male, and mostly white, then campaigning to get minority support is no longer enough.
"You cannot sing the first and last verse of 'Lift Every Voice and Sing',” she said. “You cannot hold hands and walk across the Edmund Pettis Bridge and call that post-racial inclusion."
Edwards ended her roughly 10-minute speech saying it’s time for Democrats to look more like those who vote for them.
"For all of us who look a little different; for all of us who talk a little different; for all of us standing on the outside propping up the Democratic Party...it is time to call the question,” she insisted to loud applause.
Edwards’ loss means lieutenant governor remains the only statewide elected office held by an African-American. The last three lieutenant governors have been black.
One of them is now the heavy favorite to replace Edwards in Congress. Anthony Brown, who lost the governor’s race to Republican Larry Hogan two years ago, completed an unexpected and quick political comeback yesterday. He topped former Prince George’s prosecutor Glenn Ivey to win the Democratic nomination for the fourth district seat, which includes parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties.