The Runback: The Vultures Are Circling
Everybody in Maryland is suddenly talking about Ben Cardin's future
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News and Politics
Announcing The Duckpin 100 for 2023: For the second straight year, we try to list the 100 most important people in Maryland State Politics and Government
FairTax: The ridiculous debate over a dumb idea: We're all dumber for having heard of it.
Cox Pushing Even Fringier Theories: Not content with just losing an election, Dan Cox is now pushing discredited theories based in anti-semitism
"The Administration’s budget plan does not appear sustainable": It took eight years for Governor Larry Hogan to dig Maryland out of the fiscal hole it dug for itself. In less than two weeks in office, Wes Moore is pointing the car right back at the cliff.
February 2023 Republican Presidential Power Rankings: The 2024 Campaign is about to get real
CPAC Turns Its Back on Free Speech: “We’re gonna go a bit Hungarian” doesn't make the point Matt Schlapp thinks it does
Gordana Schifanelli Has Left the GOP: Following my lead, the former GOP Candidate for Lt. Governor has left for a new party
Turning Point Debate on Conservatism Missing Conservatives: The Towson Chapter of Turning Point is hosting a debate on the future of conservatism with a self-professed Minarchist Libertarian and a self-professed homophobic neo-Nazi. Where are the conservatives?
Cheryl Kagan’s Science (less) Based Assault on Parental Rights: Cheryl Kagan wants to eliminate the rights of parents in the vaccination of their children. That position is anti-science.
There's a Restaurant and Bar in Oslo Called "Duckpin": Oslo is over 3,800 miles from Baltimore, but the two cities are connected by bowling
The Monday Thought
All of a sudden, everybody is talking about the future of Maryland’s Senior Senator Ben Cardin.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) raised less than $30,000 in the final three months of 2022, according to new campaign finance reports released this week,
Cardin raised $29,190 from Oct. 1-Dec. 31, most of it in large donations from national political action committees, and ended 2022 with just over $1 million in the bank. That’s hardly peanuts, but the bottom line, and particularly Cardin’s fundraising activity in the last quarter of the year, will invite speculation that the 79-year-old lawmaker will not seek a fourth term in 2024.
- Maryland Matters, 2/3/23
Sen. Ben Cardin is still assessing whether to run for another six-year term in 2024. In the meantime, ambitious fellow Democrats are preparing campaigns that can strike ASAP if the genial Marylander retires.
- Politico, 2/3/23
Speculation about Cardin’s re-election was bound to happen. Cardin is 80 years old and was first elected to office in 1966. It’s the only game in town for Maryland politicians looking for a step up in the 2024 election and Senate seats don’t come open very often: Cardin has been in the Senate for 17 years, his predecessor Paul Sarbanes and former seatmate Barbara Mikulski both served for thirty years. A Senate seat in Maryland is as close to royalty as you can get in Maryland politics.
It is, of course, no surprise that the usual suspects have lined up on the Democratic side to look at the seat, including:
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks
Congressman Jamie Raskin
Congressman John Sarbanes
Congressman David Trone
Undoubtedly an open seat would attract many more candidates, both serious and not, into an open Democratic primary. Eighteen candidates ran when Cardin was elected in 2006, many of them credible candidates either through their experience, name, or access to resources. Just look at the primary if all four of those candidates were to run:
An African-American and a woman who is also the County Executive or one of Maryland’s largest counties:
A national icon of the left who made his name during the Trump Impeachment and the January 6th Committee;
A Congressman with a famous statewide name as the son of a former U.S. Senator;
A Congressman who happens to be a multi-millionaire willing to spend big to win.
That’s quite a primary. And no doubt, other State Senators, Delegates, County Executives, and more might jump into a risk-free primary too.
The Republican bench is…..well, decimated thanks to Dan Cox. Cox is just as likely to run for U.S. Senate as anyone else, arguably a better fit for his national policy focuses than Governor ever would.
Maryland Matters speculated that Michael Steele would take a look at the race:
“I haven’t given it much consideration at this point,” said Steele, who ran against Cardin in the 2006 general election, “but would take a look at the race if things opened up.”
It’s a scenario I suggested way back in 2021 but running is a Presidential year with a Presidential Primary Electorate would be tough sledding for Steele, especially considering how Dan Cox won last year.
The only announced candidate for US Senate is Republican perennial candidate Robin Ficker, who received 2.8% of the vote in last year’s gubernatorial primary.
It is clear though that the vultures are circling for Ben Cardin. While there are often stories about incumbent Senators’ fundraising, it cannot be coincidental that these stories dropped on the same day. Especially considering how many are actively considering it.
It’s also not coincidental that Alsobrooks added veteran Democratic operative Dave Chase, who just ran Tim Ryan’s Senate campaign in Ohio, to her staff.
Ben Cardin is going to be forced into a decision on whether or not he is running very shortly. The fact that so many candidates are looking at it, so many candidates are staffing up, and so many can run serious campaigns is going to force his hand. That is unless he wants what is happening with Dianne Feinstein in California to happen to him.
Disclaimer: I know Dave Chase from his days as a St. Mary’s College of Maryland student when he served as the Governor and Attorney General of the Maryland Student Legislature.
Brian, quick question. If Governor Hogan had not come down with presidential fever, do you think he could have taken Cardin's seat?