Updated May 10 at 3:44 p.m. to correct the approximate amount that David Trone has spent on his four campaigns from his own pocket. Also updated at May 9 at 11:24 a.m. with Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announcing her run for U.S. Senate.
U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park) – who achieved national visibility as the lead House manager in the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump in 2021, and later as a member of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that year by Trump supporters — said Monday that he plans to spend “a month or so” considering whether to run for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin.
Cardin, who turns 80 later this year, announced last week that he would not seek a fourth Senate term – ending a career in elected office that began nearly six decades ago, when the Baltimore native was elected to the state House of Delegates as a law school student at age 23.
A Senate bid by Raskin could set up a primary election clash with U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac), who announced his intentions last week to seek Cardin’s seat. Since the 2022 congressional redistricting, the two legislators have split representation of Montgomery County, with the majority of the county’s electorate – more than three-quarters – residing in Raskin’s district.
In a statement posted to his campaign website Monday night, Raskin – who since late last year had been undergoing chemotherapy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a form of cancer – said: “Having completed five months of chemo right before Senator Ben Cardin’s announcement, I am taking a month or so to carefully assess and reflect upon the overall political context in the country and in Maryland.”
Raskin — who said last month that his doctors had determined his cancer was in remission following his chemotherapy regime — added: “I’m deeply grateful to all my friends and fellow Democrats out there who are sending me messages about running for the U.S. Senate….We are still in the fight of our lives to defend American democracy and freedom against the rampaging autocrats, kleptocrats, plutocrats and theocrats, and I feel a strong responsibility not only to advance the needs and priorities of the people of Maryland but to serve in whatever capacity and role will be most effective and important to a resounding victory for American democracy and freedom across the country.”
Besides Trone, the Democratic field for Cardin’s seat includes Montgomery County Council member Will Jawando (At-large) of Silver Spring–although there has been widespread speculation that Jawando would drop back and seek Raskin’s 8th District congressional seat if Raskin were to run for Senate. In addition, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks–widely seen as an all but certain Senate contender in recent weeks–formally announced her candidacy for the Democratic nomination Tuesday morning.
On the Republican side, former Gov. Larry Hogan is considered the most competitive potential candidate, but so far has disavowed any interest in serving in the Senate.
Raskin, a long-time law professor at American University, was elected to the Maryland Senate in 2006 and to the U.S. House in 2016, in a primary in which his opponents included both Trone and Jawando.
Trone – a multimillionaire who is co-owner of Total Wine & More, a nationwide chain of alcohol beverage retail stores — spent nearly $13.5 million of his own money in the 2016 race, and, to date, has spent more a total of approximately $43.5 million from his own pocket in four congressional races. He was first elected to the 6th District seat in 2018, and won reelection in 2020 and 2022.
While Trone has reportedly been saying privately that he is prepared to spend up to $50 million of his personal fortune on the coming Senate race, Raskin – thanks to a following among progressives across the country – has proven to be a potent fundraiser.
Raskin took in more than $500,000 in the first quarter of 2023 and had a campaign treasury of nearly $3.35 million as of the end of March. All of that money could be converted for use in a Senate bid if he were to decide to run for that post rather than seek reelection to a fifth House term.
However, a potential quandary for Raskin is that a Senate run would force him to relinquish his seat in the House, where he has ascended the leadership ladder. He currently serves as the ranking Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which frequently has conducted high profile investigations of allegations of governmental wrongdoing during both Democratic and Republican administrations.
With the Republicans currently controlling the House by only a handful of votes, Raskin could find himself chairing that panel if he seeks re-election and the Democrats retake the majority in that chamber.