Author Archives: Jim Ellis

The Musical Chairs Begin

Maryland Senate

Rep. Donna Edwards’ (D-MD-4) announcement that she will run for the Senate launches the Maryland political chess game. As we already know, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8) is officially in the race and moving quickly toward establishing himself. Van Hollen jump-started the political time line with his formal declaration at the end of last week, and now Edwards is quickly following suit.

Seeing two DC area Maryland politicians – Edwards in Prince Georges County and Van Hollen hailing from Montgomery County – in the open Senate race, we can soon expect a move from the Baltimore contingent. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake personally re-confirmed that she is “seriously considering” running for the Senate. Edwards’ presence also forces Baltimore Rep. Elijah Cummings’ (D-MD-7) hand, now that it is clear he will not be the only African American House member to potentially join the statewide effort. Part of Edwards’ goal in so definitively announcing is an attempt to encapsulate Cummings, making it clear that his path to the Senate will not be an easy one.
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Reid Endorses Van Hollen; Strickland Ties Portman

Maryland Senate

In a surprising development, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has already given his personal endorsement to Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8), the recently announced Maryland senatorial candidate. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) announced last week that she will retire at the end of the current Congress, launching what promises to be a very crowded Democratic primary to replace her.

Van Hollen has been on the inside of the House Democratic leadership almost since his original election in 2002, and he is known as a highly ambitious politician. Therefore, through his positioning within the House conference, the Montgomery County congressman was able to develop a relationship with Sen. Reid. But, it is still unusual that a Senate leader would involve himself so quickly in a contested primary when so many Democratic delegation members appear inclined to run. Speculation continues that Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD-4), for example, is just days away from announcing her own candidacy.

In other Maryland news, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (D) announced that he will not enter the Senate race. Kamenetz had been prominently mentioned as a possible candidate in the early speculation immediately after Sen. Mikulski’s announcement.
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Two More Open House Seats in 2016

A pair of House members just announced that they will not seek re-election next year. One is running for Senate, while the other is retiring. The two political moves mean there are now nine vacant or open House seats (6R; 3D) just two months into the 114th Congress.

MI-10

House Administration Committee chair Candice Miller (R) announced last week that she will not seek re-election to an eighth term. She originally won her seat in 2002, after serving eight years as Michigan’s Secretary of State.

Long mentioned as a possible statewide candidate, rumors are circulating that Rep. Miller may run for governor or potentially launch a future challenge to US Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Michigan will host an open governor’s race in 2018 because incumbent Rick Snyder (R) will be ineligible to seek a third term. At least for now, she is planning to return to private life at the end of the current Congress.
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The Lindsey Graham Strategy

March 6, 2015 — According to a new poll a wide majority of South Carolina voters do not think that their senator, Lindsey Graham, should run for president, but their sentiments may not affect his political strategy.

Winthrop University released their latest poll results (Feb. 21-March 1; 1,109 SC adults; segmented into a smaller undisclosed number of registered voters) yesterday, and found that two-thirds of the registered voter universe and 56 percent of Palmetto State Republicans do not believe that Sen. Graham should run nationally. But, only entering his state’s primary – yet recent indications suggest that he currently views himself as more than a regional candidate – could bring him some valuable political capital if the 2016 GOP nomination ends up being decided through an open convention.

The Winthrop poll covered a great many issues and office holder favorability ratings. The question about Sen. Graham’s presidential aspirations was tangential, but it is clearly attracting the most attention in circulated press reports about the survey.
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In, Out, or Maybe in Maryland?

MARCH 5, 2-15 — A flurry of Maryland political activity has been unleashed after Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) delivered her semi-surprising retirement announcement earlier this week.

Below is a re-cap of who may enter the Maryland Senate race, according to several public sources and statements from the individuals themselves. Additionally, lists covering California open seat candidates and the two May congressional special elections are also updated.

MARYLAND SENATE

Democrats Considering
• Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-2)
• Rep. John Sarbanes (MD-3)
• Rep. Donna Edwards (MD-4)
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