U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D) announced he will not be running for reelection Monday, opening up the field for who will succeed him in representing Maryland in the Senate after the 2024 election. Montgomery County officials including Rep. David Trone (D-Dist. 6) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 8), are among the names being tossed around as potential candidates, though nobody has officially announced a campaign.
Cardin, 79, has served the state of Maryland for 56 years, since 1967 when he joined the General Assembly House of Delegates. He became a U.S. Senator in 2007.
Mileah Kromer is the director of the Goucher College Poll, which measures the opinions of Maryland residents and voters on policy, social and economic issues. In an interview with MoCo360, she pointed to four Maryland politicians whose names have been discussed to succeed Cardin for the seat – Trone, Raskin, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) and Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D).
“These are all really experienced lawmakers who have also demonstrated an ability to raise money, which is what you need to do to run a statewide campaign, and they’ve demonstrated they have good media relations,” Kromer said. “They have bases of supporters, folks who will come out and volunteer for their campaigns, relationships with the political establishments in the state. It’s a deep bench that is supported by a robust infrastructure at this point.”
Kromer said Trone has been speculated as a likely candidate that could do well with voters because he’s well known and experienced.
“Trone can self-fund, but he also has political experience as a member of Congress,” Kromer said.
Trone is the owner of Total Wine & More.
“I think one of the issues that he can highlight is his work on opioids. That is an issue that certainly touches people across the state that he can speak to. And he’s a member of Congress. People have seen his name on a ballot. They’ve already voted for him,” Kromer said.
Trone released a statement on Twitter, congratulating Cardin.
“Ben gets things done for people—things that lifted up families, here in Maryland and across our nation. For years, Ben has been a champion for working people, bringing jobs to Maryland, especially underserved communities whose voices don’t often reach the halls of power,” Trone tweeted.
A spokesperson for Trone did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Kromer said Raskin would have a similar advantage to Trone if he ran, since he’s become a big name for his work on the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol insurrection investigation and leading the House Oversight Committee.
“He’s certainly raised his national profile and his statewide profile considerably and I think that he has been a real voice not just for progressive politics, but a voice for folks who really are deeply concerned about the direction of American democracy,” Kromer said.
However, Kromer said Raskin may have less incentive to run because he’s becoming a leader in the House.
“He’s also gained a lot of power within the house. And I would be curious whether he would want to walk away from that,” she said.
Raskin also congratulated Cardin.
“I salute him and have congratulated him on a truly amazing and inspiring career devoted to service of our people and the old-fashioned public values of honesty and decency,” Raskin wrote in a press release.
A spokesperson for Raskin said in an email he has not spoken with Raskin about whether he would run yet.
Raskin recently completed chemotherapy for lymphoma, which he says is now in remission.
Kromer said Alsobrooks and Olsezewski can’t be ruled out as potential contenders.
“Prince George’s County is where a lot of Democratic voters are. It’s a huge part of the Democratic base, and they have a county executive who has a record in her own right of accomplishments and leadership,” Kromer said.
Kromer also said the fact Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) is from Montgomery County may influence voters to choose someone not from the county.
“If people want to see a bit more balance in terms of who represents us in the U.S. Senate, Olsezewski is certainly an obvious choice,” she said.
A spokesperson for Alsobrooks directed to the county executive’s statement on Twitter, which commends Cardin but does not reveal anything about a potential run for his seat.
“He has served selflessly and worked hard for all of us, bringing home federal dollars to support children and families, and working closely with us to bring the new FBI headquarters to Maryland,” Alsobrooks tweeted.
Olsezewski did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether he’d run. He tweeted in support of Cardin Monday.
“For decades, ‘my friend Ben’ has been a dedicated public servant and champion for everyday Marylanders — and all Americans,” Olsezewski tweeted.
Kromer said she doesn’t see an obvious Republican candidate for Cardin’s seat. She said it’s unlikely former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) would run because in the past he has said he would not run for Senate. “Democrats have a really deep bench in Maryland. When you look at a field like the names that we’ve been speculating, these are all really talented individuals. What that amounts to is that Democratic voters are going to be lucky to have a lot to choose from, and to me it creates an almost impossible situation for the Republicans to field anybody to potentially put in that seat,” Kromer said.