- The Washington Times - Friday, April 18, 2008

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley will set a June 17 special election to replace Rep. Albert R. Wynn, who is stepping down in June after losing the Democratic primary.

The election date was announced yesterday after Mr. O’Malley signed emergency legislation that enables him to call for a special general election without holding a special primary, as the law had required. The General Assembly approved the bill at Mr. O’Malley’s request in order to save the roughly $1 million that a primary would cost.

Mr. O’Malley said finding a replacement is important, because nearly a quarter of Mr. Wynn’s two-year term remains.

“We’re signing this legislation today for the simple reason that every citizen of our country deserves to be represented in our national government — in the halls of Congress,” Mr. O’Malley said at a bill signing.

Mr. O’Malley either had to call for a special election or leave the seat vacant until the term expires in January 2009.

The governor said a special primary would be unnecessarily expensive because Maryland held a primary in February, in which lawyer and activist Donna Edwards defeated Mr. Wynn in Maryland’s heavily Democratic 4th District, which includes parts of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

Under the change in the law, local Democratic and Republican party officials from the two counties will choose a candidate for the special general election. If local party officials can’t decide, then state party officials will make the decision.

“On the Democratic side, we’re all presuming it’s going to be Donna Edwards,” said Delegate Jon S. Cardin, Baltimore County Democrat.

Peter James, a technology consultant, won the Republican primary in February and is expected to be the party’s candidate.

Mr. Wynn, who is in his eighth term, plans to step down in June to work at a lobbying firm.

The emergency legislation allowing Mr. O’Malley to skip a special primary barely squeaked by in the closing minutes of the General Assembly’s session, which ended last week. The legislation will sunset after one year. Mr. O’Malley will officially issue a proclamation today calling for the June 17 election.

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