SEVERNA PARK, Md. — At 8 o’clock on a January evening, a longtime Republican Party volunteer, grandmother of seven and 26-year National Christian Choir member set out to file her candidacy for the U.S. Congress.
The deadline to sign the papers was 9 p.m.
Faith Loudon had decided that if no one else in her party challenged Democratic incumbent Donna Edwards in Maryland’s 4th District, she would have to do it herself. The district is mainly composed of Anne Arundel County — home to Annapolis and nestled against the Chesapeake Bay — and Prince George’s County, in the close-in Washington, D.C. suburbs.
“I had knots in my stomach,” she told The Daily Caller. “But I’m not intimidated by many people.”
A genteel woman in her early 70s, Loudon said she felt “called” to the role after redistricting positioned her town under Edwards’ representation.
“Women in politics are motivated by just doing something, and being passionate about an issue, and there’s a lot at stake socially this election,” said Barbara Palmer, professor of political science at Baldwin Wallace University and author of “Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change.”
Loudon fits the mold of a particular type of candidate: someone who takes on an incumbent despite having only a sliver of a chance to win.
“I think she probably believes that no one should get a free ride to get re-elected to Congress,” said Paul Herrnson, professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland.
Loudon said she knows her chances in Prince George’s County, where she is not well known, are slim. But the pep in her voice only got stronger when she discussed her campaigning there.
“I love a challenge. My opponent talks about how the government will solve the job issues, but what we really need is to build business,” she told TheDC.
Loudon is also campaigning strongly on what she calls “moral issues.” She pointed out that Edwards is both pro-choice and a supporter of same-sex marriage.
Edwards did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the Federal Election Commission, Edwards has raised nearly 10 times as much money as Loudon. The Republican National Committee hasn’t funded Loudon’s campaign.
Edwards’ last FEC report, in June, showed that she had raised more than $650,000. Loudon’s September report showed just $70,000.
“It’s a very big uphill battle,” Debbie Walsh told TheDC, of races like Loudon’s. Walsh is director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.
“The reality is, it’s not that the party is thwarting them, but they only have X amount of dollars and their goal is the make the House a majority,” Walsh said.
Wanda Murray, a Loudon campaign volunteer who has been close to her since the two were 14 years old, told TheDC that no matter the outcome of the election, she knows one thing about her friend.
“Even if she doesn’t win, she’ll keep finding people who can serve their country for the values she believes in,” Murray said.