Newspaper article Roll Call

Will a Candidate Emerge from Baltimore in Maryland Senate Primary?

Newspaper article Roll Call

Will a Candidate Emerge from Baltimore in Maryland Senate Primary?

Article excerpt

While two candidates from the D.C. suburbs are running for the Democratic nomination for Maryland's open U.S. Senate seat, no candidate has emerged from Baltimore.

Democratic Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen have already begun their fight to grab retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski's seat. But members of the state's congressional delegation from Baltimore are still quietly considering whether there is a path to victory for a candidate such as them to run as a voice for the state's less affluent urban core against those from the wealthy suburbs.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings would change the game if he got into the race. The longtime Baltimore politician has a base of support there and statewide name recognition that would make him a contender.

Cummings, speaking briefly Tuesday on Capitol Hill, said he would not answer questions about a possible Senate bid and declined to disclose any timetable on a decision.

"Congressman Cummings is still considering how he can best serve," Mike Christianson, a Cummings spokesman, told CQ Roll Call in an email.

But one source close to Cummings said Monday it did not appear to him that Cummings was building the campaign apparatus one might need if planning a Senate run, including efforts to strengthen his fundraising and hire key staff members.

"He doesn't seem to be taking the steps that one would be taking if one were to run," the Democratic operative said.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Cummings' fellow Baltimorean, is considering a run, but he told CQ Roll Call Tuesday he would wait until September to make his decision.

"I like what I'm doing now, that's why I didn't want to run for governor in 2014," he said.

Ruppersberger said he has encouraged Cummings to get in the race. Ruppersberger pointed to Cummings' personal activism earlier this year on the streets of Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, the unarmed black man who died from injuries while in police custody. …

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