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U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a Maryland Democrat, will not run for reelection

 May 2, 2023

Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland announced on Monday that he will not seek re-election in 2024, potentially leading to a fierce primary fight in the solidly Democratic state.

"I am proud of all I have done for Maryland. I have given my heart and soul to our great state, and I thank Marylanders for trusting me as your representative for all these years," said Cardin.

The 79-year-old lawmaker has served Maryland for decades, first in the House of Representatives for 20 years and then in the Senate since 2006.

Democratic Senators Bowing Out

Cardin is the third Democratic senator to announce a decision not to run for re-election in 2024, joining Dianne Feinstein of California and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has seized on this news, with spokesman Tate Mitchell stating that Democrats are realizing that the Senate won't be enjoyable for them when Republicans retake the majority in 2024.

However, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) remains confident about their chances in Maryland. DSCC communications director David Bergstein asserted that Democrats had won every statewide federal election in the state for the past 40 years.

The Impact on the Senate

With Cardin's announcement, speculation has arisen about the possibility of former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, running for Cardin's seat. However, a source close to Hogan reiterated that the former governor has never been interested in the Senate.

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and his allies encouraged Hogan to campaign for the Senate in 2022, but he resisted the recruitment push.

Democrats currently hold a narrow 51-49 majority in the Senate and are defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs next year.

The upcoming elections include three seats in reliably red states and several in crucial general election battlegrounds. Maryland, however, is a heavily blue state.

Potential Democratic Candidates

Several Democrats are considering running for Cardin's soon-to-be-vacated seat. Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08), who gained prominence for his role on the Jan. 6th House select investigative committee, has not ruled out a run but is currently focused on recovering from cancer. Raskin announced his lymphoma diagnosis in December and has since been undergoing chemotherapy.

Moderate Democrat Rep. David Trone (MD-06), might also enter the race, which could lead to a Democratic primary battle between him and Raskin. The two previously fought for control of Maryland's 8th Congressional District.

Prince George's County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks and Montgomery County Council at-large member Will Jawando are also considering running for the seat.

As the 2024 elections approach, it remains to be seen who will step forward to fill Cardin's shoes and how the political landscape will shift.

While Maryland is a predominantly blue state, the retirement of a longstanding senator may provide an opportunity for change. The upcoming elections will reveal how Democrats fare in defending their majority and whether Republicans can capitalize on the opportunity to make gains in the Senate.

Sen. Cardin's Legacy

Born and raised in Baltimore, Cardin is the grandson of Russian-Jewish immigrants. He was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1968 and was one of the youngest speakers in the legislature's history from 1979 to 1986.

Currently, Cardin chairs the Senate Small Business Committee and is the second-ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee and Environment and Public Works Committee.