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Wasting no time in the wake of Rep. Anthony G. Brown’s decision to run for attorney general next year, two well-known Prince George’s County Democrats — Glenn F. Ivey and Del. Jazz Lewis — announced plans early Tuesday to seek the Fourth District seat being vacated by the three-term incumbent.
More candidates could jump into the race in the coming weeks.
Ivey served as Prince George’s County state’s attorney from 2002 to 2010. He ran unsuccessfully for the House in 2016, finishing second to Brown — 8,700 votes back — in a five-way primary. Ivey has been an attorney in private practice ever since.
He said he has enjoyed doing legal work, but the pull of politics never faded.
“I miss public service,” Ivey said. “Congress is the heart of the storm. I want to be in that fray. I want to be in that struggle — because these are critical times. Democracy hangs in the balance.”
Ivey’s wife, Jolene, is a former state legislator who serves on the Prince George’s County Council. Their son, Julian, is a member of the House of Delegates.
Lewis, a member of the House of Delegates since 2017, launched his campaign with a web video and a press release.
“I’ve seen too many inequities pass from generation to generation,” he said. “I am running with a fierce urgency of now to ensure that we don’t pass the many challenges that we face today onto the next generation.”
He pledged to focus on gun violence, employment, healthcare and an “often predatory criminal justice system.”
The 32-year-old Lewis is chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the Appropriations Committee. A top advisor to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D), he served as Maryland political director for Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2016 race for president.
His press release includes endorsements from three fellow Prince George’s Democrats — Sen. Joanne Benson, Del. Darryl Barnes and Del. Rachel Jones. The video combines stories of Lewis’s upbringing, his fight to block tuition increases at the University of Maryland, and his work in the community.
Republican George McDermott, a frequent candidate, has already filed for the 4th District seat. A three-time nominee, he has yet to crack 22% of the vote, and the redrawn 4th is not expected to be fertile territory for the GOP.
In the meantime, other Democrats are considering jumping into the fray alongside Lewis and Ivey.
Prince George’s County Councilmember Derrick Leon Davis said on Monday he is “definitely considering the seat. Praying and discussing with family and The Team.” Davis is unable to seek re-election due to term limits.
Former Congresswoman Donna Edwards has been talked about as a potential candidate, but she did not respond Monday to text or voice messages. Edwards served four terms in the House, from 2008 to 2017. She ran in 2016 for the U.S. Senate seat long held by Barbara Mikulski (D), finishing second to Chris Van Hollen.
County Council Chair Calvin S. Hawkins II (D) and state Senate President Pro Tem Melony Griffith (D) have also been mentioned. Neither responded to a request for comment on Monday.
As currently drawn, the Maryland Fourth is an ungainly district that features two blobs of land — one in Prince George’s and one in Anne Arundel — tethered by a slender rope of precincts along the I-95 corridor.
The state legislature is expected to draw new boundaries during a special session in December.
Potential candidates who opt for a wait-and-see approach would still have a couple months to decide whether to run. The filing deadline is Feb. 22. The primary election is June 28.
Ivey said he’s running regardless of the outcome of the redistricting process.
“Wherever they draw the lines, we’re going to have high name recognition and a strong positive-to-negative ratio as well, in terms of people liking the work that I’ve done and the way that I’ve gone about doing it,” he said.