The Democratic primary in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District on July 19 features two familiar names in state Democratic political circles – former Rep. Donna Edwards, who is running to regain the seat she held from 2008 to 2017, and former Prince George’s County’s top prosecutor, Glenn Ivey. We endorse the more moderate and practical Ivey.
The 4th Congressional District, which encompasses Prince George’s County, is a blue one, and even bluer following the state’s recent redistricting. Whoever wins the Democratic primary will almost certainly win the general election. Ivey and Edwards are both liberals and agree on many issues, including gun control, health care and climate change. But they don’t see eye to eye on Israel. Ivey supports Israel’s right to defend itself, supports continued U.S. security assistance for Israel and opposes BDS and other efforts to delegitimize Israel. Edwards, meanwhile, doesn’t have such a great record when it comes to her support for Israel. They also disagree on the terms under which the U.S. should reenter the Iran nuclear deal, if at all. Because of those very clear differences, this election is getting significant attention from Maryland’s Jewish community and beyond.
Edwards’ former tenure as the congresswoman for the 4th district was marked by a strained relationship with the Jewish community — particularly because of her positions toward Israel. In many respects, Edwards was a member of “the Squad” before the Squad was “established” after the 2018 election. Thus, for example, in 2009, Edwards voted “present” on a measure to recognize Israel’s right to defend itself from attacks from Gaza.
That measure passed the House with 390 votes, with just five voting against and 22 voting present. Edwards also voted against condemning the United Nations’ Goldstone Report, which accused Israel of human rights violations. And when leaders from the community tried to set up a meeting to discuss her vote on Israel’s right to defend itself, she didn’t respond. That lack of responsiveness was upsetting to the pro-Israel community and was consistent with a more generalized complaint about Edwards during her congressional tenure that she and her staff were not focused upon or responsive to constituent concerns and needs.
Ivey, on the other hand, has an impressive record of getting things done. For example, while serving as the state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, Ivey got high marks for his successes in areas such as confronting domestic abuse, helping the formerly incarcerated reenter society and the prosecution of violent gangs, among others. His background and personality portend a more responsive approach to the needs of his constituents. And, for the pro-Israel community, his more moderate and supportive approach toward Israel and the vital U.S.-Israel relationship make him a far more attractive candidate.
We believe that Glenn Ivey will be a more effective representative for the citizens of Maryland’s 4th District and for the people of the state of Maryland.