Rep. Donna F. Edwards from Maryland is stooped in a corner fiddling with the sound system. Her event, guest-starring House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is about to start. There is barely room to move in the small Hyattsville bakery, and side conversations are bouncing off the walls.
A microphone would be helpful when the speeches begin, and Edwards, who likes to fix stuff, is not above squatting in a fuchsia frock to try to get the job done.
Almost as soon as she unseated an incumbent congressman in a Democratic primary in 2008, Edwards became all about pushing out the Democratic Party’s message. A broken mike won’t stop her. “Good morning!” she says, before turning to what has become her mantra for the midterm elections.
“We know that when women succeed, America succeeds,” she shouts, joined in unison by Pelosi.
The two Democrats are pushing a theme that they hope will draw voters, especially women, to the polls in November. The slogan sounds a little cheesy, when belted in their sing-songy way. Edwards’s and Pelosi’s manner of speaking is more deliberative and wonky than traditionally charismatic, but their duet goes over well with the enthusiastic gaggle of supporters crowding the bakery — small-business owners, students and more than a few congressional staffers.
Edwards is in her home district, which covers much of Prince George’s County and a slice of Anne Arundel, and she speaks first. She says she wants more women to run and more women to lead. She tells her story: how she raised her son as a single mother while working and, later, won a long-shot congressional race. Edwards wants more women to do what she has done, to reinvent themselves and take a chance on politics.
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