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Ben Cardin, Maryland’s senior senator, announced Monday that he will not be running again for the seat he has held for nearly two decades, leaving a rare vacancy for the Senate position.
Cardin first won his Senate seat in 2006 in a contested primary against Baltimore Congressman Kweisi Mfume (D). He played a large role in establishing the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that kept many businesses afloat during the earliest stages of COVID-19.
“It’s been the honor of my life to represent the people of Maryland in the General Assembly, as Speaker of the House of Delegates, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and now in the United States Senate,” Cardin said in his statement.
Following this announcement, fellow Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) said: “From increased funding for our schools to bringing more resources to the Chesapeake Bay to expanding health care services and empowering minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses – Senator Cardin has never backed down from a challenge or taking on special interests. We all witnessed this last week on the Senate floor as he led the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment because, as he said, ‘There is no time limit on equality.’”
Both Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) and Congressman David Trone (D) have been gearing up in preparation for Cardin’s retirement. Alsobrooks is term-limited in her current role as county executive, and Trone has the ability to completely self-fund his race. Both candidates have reportedly hired staffers. Trone hired Daniel Morrocco and Alsobrooks hired Tim Chase as their respective campaign managers, each having led statewide races in the past.
U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin (D), well-known for his role in the impeachment trials against former President Trump, is a candidate with a strong national fundraising network and name recognition, but is unlikely to run.
Congressman John Sarbanes (D), whose father served in the Senate and who has represented a large swath of Maryland due to his district’s dimensions, is another potential candidate.
Former gubernatorial nominee Ben Jealous (D) and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski are also rumored to be interested.