Rep. Donna F. Edwards, the Democrat running for Senate in Maryland, jabbed at her leading opponent at an endorsement event in Prince George's County on Wednesday and told supporters that her election would fill a decades-old void in the chamber.
Speaking at what was her first major public event of the campaign, Edwards repeatedly noted the historic significance of electing an African American woman to the seat that will be left vacant in 2017 by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's retirement.
"I can tell you, today, that the voice that’s missing -- my voice, our voice that’s missing -- is the voice of an African American woman who has raised a son on her own," Edwards said at an event to announce the endorsement of seven members of the Prince George’s County Council.
"It's the voice of an African American woman who understands what It means to juggle the electric bill and the mortgage and the rent and pay for day care," she continued. "When that voice is missing from our decision-making table, it means that all of our voices are not heard when it comes to public policy making."
Edwards, if elected, would be the first African American to represent Maryland in the Senate and only the second black woman to serve in the chamber. The first, Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois, has endorsed Edwards.
Edwards, who has represented the 4th Congressional District since 2007, also took a swipe at her leading opponent in the race, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Montgomery County, who has managed to pick up endorsements from many leading Democrats -- including the executives of Montgomery, Prince George’s and Frederick counties.
"It cannot be that backroom politics are going to choose our United States Senator," Edwards said, speaking from Prince George's County Community College in Largo. "And it cannot be that just because you line up every endorsement in the state, that that means that you will be the next United States Senator."
Edwards landed the endorsement of seven Prince George's County Council members on Wednesday, including: Chairman Mel Franklin as well as Derrick Davis, Danielle Glaros, Andrea Harrison, Mary Lehman, Obie Patterson and Karen Toles.
In addition to Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, Van Hollen also won the backing of County Council member Deni Taveras.