initial results

Ivey leading Edwards in heated Maryland primary

Ivey’s success despite Edwards’ deep ties to institutional Democrats highlights the power of pro-Israel spending to shape Democratic primary fields

Center for American Progress

Glenn Ivey

Glenn Ivey, the former Maryland state attorney for Prince George’s County, leads former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) in the Democratic primary in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, the latest race in which pro-Israel activists have invested millions of dollars to boost their preferred candidates.

Ivey led Edwards 51% to 35% as of Tuesday morning, with 68% of Tuesday’s primary votes counted. The Washington Post called the race for Ivey, although most mail-in ballots had not yet been counted.

Israel advocacy groups were the largest spenders in the race. Ivey was backed by AIPAC and its super PAC, the United Democracy Project, Democratic Majority for Israel and Pro-Israel America, while Edwards was backed by J Street.

UDP shelled out nearly $6 million on ads to boost Ivey and attack Edwards — the most it has spent on any single race this cycle — joined by another $426,000 from DMFI. J Street spent $728,000 backing Edwards and opposing Ivey. Edwards also received significant financial support from Emily’s List, the League of Conservation Voters and the Working Families Party. 

During her previous tenure in Congress from 2008 to 2017, Edwards earned the ire of the pro-Israel community for her vote on a number of bills related to Israel’s security. Despite not being a central component of either candidate’s pitch, Israel policy became a lynchpin issue in the final days of the campaign and a central narrative of the race.

AIPAC’s support for Ivey pitted the organization against some of the most prominent leaders in the Democratic Party who backed Edwards, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and numerous sitting members of Congress. Pelosi intervened personally on Edwards’ behalf against UDP, recording a video pushing back on the accusations in one of the group’s ads.