US Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, announced that he won’t seek reelection in 2024, paving the way for a competitive Democratic primary for a seat that is likely to remain in the party’s control.
Cardin, who has served in the Senate since 2007, announced his retirement in a video Monday, highlighting his efforts to protect the Chesapeake Bay, to shore up small businesses during the pandemic, and to pass sanctions against human rights offenders.
While Democrats’ other prospects on the 2024 Senate map are grim, Cardin has expressed confidence that a Democrat will succeed him. The state hasn’t elected a Republican to the Senate since 1980, and there is only one Republican among the state’s eight-seat House delegation.
Maryland Republicans probably won’t break that streak given that the very popular former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, a vocal critic of former President Donald Trump, has previously said he’s not interested in running, and the party doesn’t have any current elected officials with the same wide appeal. And there is a slate of potential Democratic contenders, some who already have national name recognition, establishment ties, or full campaign coffers. At least one Democrat has already announced their campaign.
“On the Democratic side, Maryland has a full bench of talent. This Cardin seat hasn’t been open for so long, so I think there’s a lot of excitement,” said Mileah Kromer, director of the Goucher College poll, a major polling institution in Maryland.
We asked Kromer what she’s expecting from the race in 2024. Her answers have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
What could the Democratic primary look like?
“We have Angela Alsobrooks, who is the Prince George’s County executive. Prince George’s County is huge. It’s incredibly populous and leans really heavily Democratic, so it’s basically the base of Maryland’s vote. We hear about David Trone, the [US] representative of the Sixth District [and the founder of Total Wine & More.] He can self-fund — that’s the big thing. There’s Councilman Will Jawando from Montgomery County. He released a video [announcing his Senate candidacy Tuesday].
“Alsobrooks, Trone, and also Johnny Olszewski, the Baltimore County executive — these are all individuals who have deep establishment ties. These are all individuals who have track records. And these are all individuals who have the understanding of statewide politics to wage and win a statewide campaign. It’ll be a hotly contested primary.
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