In the Washington Post, Arelis Hernández reports that Rep. Donna Edwards is receiving encouragement from progressive Prince George’s activists to run for County Executive. However, the possible entry of Sen. C. Anthony Muse is giving her pause:
Longtime state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, who is close to Edwards and has his own deep base of political support, has also been considering a run — one factor that could dissuade Edwards from getting into the race.
Like Edwards, Muse is touting his outsider credentials:
Although Muse has been in Annapolis since 2007, he is known for his independence from the Democratic leadership there and would also likely try to claim the outsider label.
“Muse is the only one who has built his career on standing up to the establishment,” said Wayne Clarke, a veteran political operative who is close to the senator.
Except that Muse has stood up to the Democratic establishment by opposing it from the right, not the left. In contrast to State’s Attorney Alsobrooks, a leading candidate for County Executive, Muse was a leader in the effort to fight bail reform this year:
Alsobrooks was the only state’s attorney in Maryland to publicly oppose a bill sponsored by Muse to revive the state’s cash-bail program. The legislation was denounced by progressives who had worked for years to eliminate bail for poor defendants. It passed in the Senate but died in the House.
Muse also opposed marriage equality. According to political science estimates, Muse has been the seventh most conservative Democrat in the Maryland Senate. Unlike other more conservative Democrats, Muse does not represent a swing district. Other Prince George’s Democrats are among the most liberal in the Senate.
Muse’s financial past also raises eyebrows. He led two Prince George’s churches into bankruptcy. Muse’s own financial situation looks much happier. At the time of the second bankruptcy, he owned four properties–his own home, a vacation home, a rental property in Silver Spring, and a vacant lot in Fort Washington.
Todd Eberly sees an Edwards bid as a good way to wreck revenge on the Democratic establishment, which doesn’t support her:
[t]he former congresswoman might consider it “wonderful revenge” against party leaders who embraced then-Rep. Chris Van Hollen instead of her during the Senate primary.
But Sen. Chris Van Hollen has been a progressive leader. A big part of the reason Edwards lost was that there was just not enough daylight on issues between the two candidates.
For someone who is a progressive champion, the idea that Anthony Muse could become county executive should be seen as a reason to run–not to hit the pause button.