- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 24, 2006

Montgomery County has finished counting 11,000 provisional ballots in the 4th Congressional District Democratic primary, giving incumbent Rep. Albert R. Wynn a narrow victory and prompting challenger Donna Edwards to concede.

“The final votes are counted, and we’ve fallen short by just a few,” said Mrs. Edwards. “Nonetheless, I am energized and humbled by what we’ve accomplished in these last several weeks. I take seriously the confidence that the voters … have shown in me.”

The unofficial tally Saturday, which still must be certified, gave Mr. Wynn 39,482 votes, or 49 percent, and Mrs. Edwards 37,174 votes, or 47 percent.

Mrs. Edwards, ran strongly in Montgomery County, collecting 15,851 votes there to Mr. Wynn’s 9,129, but it was not enough to overcome the six-term incumbent’s advantage in Prince George’s County.

It was the toughest challenge Mr. Wynn had ever faced after taking as much as 80 percent of the vote in Democratic primaries and general elections in six previous campaigns.

George McDermott was a distant third with 3,113 votes, or 4 percent. The winner faces Republican nominee Michael M. Starkman in November. Mr. Starkman is an executive with Intersoft Corp.

Mrs. Edwards, a lawyer and Prince George’s County community activist, attacked Mr. Wynn on the Iraq war, taxes and bankruptcy.

Mr. Wynn said he was campaigning on his record of delivering services and federal money for his district. He called Mrs. Edwards a “professional critic from the sidelines.”

Mr. Wynn could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Cards needed to use electronic voting machines were not delivered to Montgomery County polling places on primary day, so early voters had to use provisional ballots.

In the confusion that followed, many precincts ran out of provisional ballots. In some cases, voters made their choices on photocopied ballots or scraps of paper.

Mrs. Edwards has threatened to file a lawsuit over suspected voting irregularities in Prince George’s County.

“We should have no reason after the election to question the results or to forever wonder whether we trust the outcome,” Mrs. Edwards said.

The problems reported in the county included voters who were listed with the wrong party at polling places, polls not opening on time and problems with the transmission of data from precincts to the county election board after polls closed.

• Staff writer Michael Hunsberger contributed to this report.

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