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Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Del. Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk (D-District 21) have all joined the race for the House seat vacated by Edwards. (Courtesy Photos)

The recent decision by Rep. Donna Edwards to run for the U.S. Senate in 2016 has produced a crop of politicians who have declared for her House seat or are considering a run for it. Edwards is running in the April 5, 2016 Democratic primary for the nomination to replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). As a result, Edwards, in Congress since 2008, is vacating her Prince George’s-Anne Arundel county-based congressional seat.

Two of Prince George’s County’s most well-known political figures, former Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey and former Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, have decided to run to replace Edwards. “The people of this district deserve a Congress that works for them, that spends less time fighting with each other and more time fighting for you,” Ivey said in an email to supporters on March 11. “With your help, I would like to get back in the ring and continue the fight to help people improve their lives and achieve their dreams.”

Brown got into the race the next day. “I decided that I would run for office once again only if I believe in my heart that I still had something to give back to my community, the community where I’ve raised my children and dedicated my life to public service,” Brown said in a message to supporters on March 12. “After serious reflection, prayer, and discussion with my wife Karmen and our three children, we are very excited to announce my candidacy for Maryland’s Fourth Congressional District.”

Ivey served as Prince George’s County’s chief prosecutor from 2006-2010. His wife, Jolene, served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2007-2015, and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor in 2014.

Brown served in the House of Delegates from 1999-2007. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2006 and lost a close race for governor in 2014.

There is speculation that Maryland State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-District 26) will jump into the race but his spokeswoman, Brandi Calhoun, told the {AFRO} that her boss has not made a decision on whether to run. Muse ran for the Democratic Party nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012, has served in the state Senate since 2006, served in the House of Delegates from 1994-1998 and ran for Prince George’s County executive in 2002.

Del. Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk (D-District 21) joined the race for Edwards’ seat on March 17.

While the race is in its infant stage, Brown, a colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves, has already received an endorsement from a pro-veterans political action committee. “Anthony’s service is matched by his determination, hard work, and personal understanding of the challenges so many Americans face,” Jon Soltz, Iraq War veteran and chairman of the VoteVets.org PAC, said. “Combined, those traits will make him an exemplary congressman for the 4th District. Going from the son of a man who escaped poverty in Jamaica, through Ivy League school, and rising to the rank of colonel in the U.S. Army has given Anthony a truly American story.”

James Dula, former president of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce and recently elected president of the South County Democratic Club, said the race to replace Edwards “is very interesting.”

“The candidates who are running so far are very well qualified,” he said. “I worked with Ivey when he was state’s attorney on issues regarding truancy and on a task force on gangs. Brown deserves credit for the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) initiative that brought resources to Andrews Air Force Base but the health care coverage project he oversaw in the state didn’t go so well.”

Dula said that whoever wins the position will go into the Congress a freshman and that may be a problem. “It takes a while to build up experience and longevity in the Congress and that is when you can get things done for your district,” he said.

However, Emma Andrews, a longtime education activist working to improve the Prince George’s County school system, said the Edwards’ race may present a different problem. “I think it is important for the community to come together, ask the candidates questions, and decide who we will support,” Andrews said. “A race that will split the community isn’t good. We need to have a consensus candidate that everyone can support and that will help the county move forward.”