Saturday, September 16, 2006

Edwards v. Wynn -- Just a quick note here on the continuing primary challenge by Donna Edwards to the Democratic incumbent in the 4th Congressional District of Maryland, Rep. Al Wynn. The challenger, Ms. Edwards, a former Wynn staffer, is within 3,000 votes of the lead, with over 20,000 provisional ballots still to be counted. Three-fourths of those ballots are from Montgomery County, which staged what may have been the most problem-ridden election this country has seen, rivaling Palm Beach County in 2000. Problems with the vote tallies and the machines in Prince George's County have led Ms. Edwards to promise a legal challenge.

The closeness of the Edwards-Wynn race was the true surprise of all the races on Tuesday, though some were surprised by the third-place finish in the Maryland Comptroller's race by former Gov. Donald Schaefer. Both of these races, like the Lieberman-Lamont race weeks earlier in Connecticut, show what can happen to even the most popular incumbent, when he (or she) develops a case of tin ear, mixed in with hubris. If the incumbent candidate is so out of step with his base of support that they feel abandoned, one can no longer expect them to stick by the incumbent. In Schaefer's case it was his abominable behavior and Neandertal attitudes towards women that did him in. For Wynn, it may be a voting record that was so far out of step with his liberal district, he has fed a perception that his vote is easily bought. His tenure carries a whiff of corruption, even if no evidence of that has been produced.

This political season reminds me of the tale in All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren -- a delicious read, if you weren't force-fed this one in school. Coincidentally, the book is once again a major motion picture, about to be released, starring Sean Penn. The Last Hurrah is also apropos, and also a great read.

Hope I haven't disappointed too many people, as the Fisch Fry has been off the fire for a few days -- a little personal business in New York has occupied my time. I hope to have something more substantial over the weekend here.

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