(Politico) – It took only a few hours after Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski made the surprise announcement of her retirement for the two Democratic lawmakers most ferociously angling to succeed her to find Rep. Elijah Cummings on the House floor.
Reps. Donna Edwards and Chris Van Hollen spoke at length with the longtime Baltimore pol about their intentions to run for the seat days before either officially announced an intention to run, sources familiar with the conversations said.
It was a calculated move to win over one of the most influential politicians in the state. There’s only one problem: Cummings himself appears to be on the verge of running.
A senior lawmaker able to excite his state’s massive African-American voting bloc, Cummings could be an instant force as a Senate candidate — and those close to him think there’s a high probability that he will run. His statewide name ID, strong Baltimore base and prominence as a national African-American leader could vault him to the top of the field — ahead of Van Hollen, Edwards and any of the handful of other Democrats eyeing the race.